Increasingly, people are guided by their values when it comes to what they buy, including what they choose to drink. In turn, the LCBO is going beyond its contribution to the Government of Ontario through its Spirit of Sustainability (SoS) platform. Founded in 2019, the SoS suite of customer-focused and behind-the-scenes initiatives is driving sustainable practices and positive change in the beverage alcohol industry and within the communities we call home.
What does the Spirit of Sustainability look like in action? As you stock your fridge and bar cart for the holiday season, here are just a few of the ways your dollars are helping the LCBO do good, especially for diverse women:
Breaking the glass (bottle) ceiling
Women, especially diverse women, are underrepresented in the entire beverage alcohol industry. That’s why the LCBO’s Spirit of Inclusion Initiative (SOII) provides bursaries, scholarships, mentorships and paid co-op placement to those looking to start or further their career in the winery, brewery and distillery fields. Two new education partners, George Brown College and the Independent Wine Education Guild, have come on board to join already-established programs with Brock University and Niagara College. To date, 13 women have been awarded scholarships through SOII, and 20 new scholarships have been announced just this past year in partnership with the Independent Wine Education Guild.
The initiative is helping diverse women break into the industry and then break barriers. “I’m grateful for being chosen to win this scholarship,” says recipient Amanpreet Bhamra, now attending a beverage business management postgrad program. “I remember the day I decided to go beyond the boundaries set by society in India, my home country. I wanted to learn about viticulture and wine production, and it took courage to care less about people’s judgment and pursue this course. I wish to be a sommelier someday, and this course is a step toward that. Thanks again for this miracle. It helped me prove to people back home that women can learn and achieve their own power.”
“We know women are underrepresented in the beverage alcohol industry,” says Julia Oudeh, director of sustainability and social impact, LCBO. “This is why we introduced the Spirit of Inclusion Initiative, bringing together our education and beverage alcohol partners with the goal to create an equitable industry where women can thrive and are empowered to pursue their passion.”
Creating a more eco-friendly Ontario
The LCBO is a leader in promoting sustainable practices across the industry and is on a continual journey to reduce its impact on the environment. To that end, the LCBO has partnered with Tree Canada, whose mission is to inspire, teach and enable Canadians to plant and nurture trees to address climate change; 97,000 trees have been planted across Ontario to date, compensating for 18,000 tonnes of CO2e.
The LCBO no longer imports products that contain single-use plastic carriers. It has also evolved its packaging both in store and online, including reusable bags, recyclable boxes and biodegradable packing peanuts for e-commerce shipments. Next time you’re shopping in-store, check out the innovative packaging alternatives.
The LCBO has been an official sponsor of Pride Toronto for four years. Its annual “Love Pairs with Everything” campaign invites customers to donate to charitable partners focused on the health, well-being and safety of the 2SLGBTQI+ community, with more than $4 million raised to date, supporting organizations such as Black CAP, Rainbow Railroad, Casey House and Women’s College Hospital Foundation. The organization also engaged more than 80 employees, family and friends to march in the Pride Toronto parade and continues to highlight beverage alcohol brands giving back in meaningful ways so customers can truly toast to Pride.
Read the Spirit of Sustainability Impact Report to find out more about how the LCBO is creating a positive impact in Ontario.