Brown-Forman Publishes Second Corporate Responsibility Report

Overarching Theme is “Being Responsible in Everything We Do”

LOUISVILLE, Ky.--()--Brown-Forman (NYSE:BFB) (NYSE:BFA) announced today the publication of its second corporate responsibility report, consisting of a thorough online report and a 26-page printed document that together articulate the company’s corporate responsibility strategy and provide data summarizing its social and environmental performance over the last few years.

The printed document, entitled “On Being Responsible – Our Thinking About Drinking,” outlines Brown-Forman’s five pillars upon which the company’s responsible drinking strategy is built:

  1. Be a Company of Responsibility Leaders
  2. Act as a Partner for Responsible Retailing
  3. Be a Trusted Policy Partner
  4. Speak with a Credible Voice
  5. Harness our Brand Power to Influence Consumer Attitudes and Behaviors

The full online report, accessible at www.brown-forman.com/responsibility, further describes some of the initiatives the company has taken, including using the power of its well-known consumer brands to encourage positive social change, continuing to seek ways to reduce its environmental impact, and advancing its diversity programs in an increasingly global business.

In an introduction to the printed report, Brown-Forman Chief Executive Officer Paul Varga states, “Two years ago (when we launched our first report), we decided to take a more open-ended approach to communicate better and to motivate ourselves and others to act with a heightened sense of responsibility….Much of our work and new ideas related to responsibility are reflected in this 2009 report, which captures our ambitions to promote responsible drinking and combat the abuse of beverage alcohol. To achieve greater success, we have embarked on a more assertive path: to further educate our employees about alcohol responsibility; engage our stakeholders on the issues; and use our strong consumer brands to bring about positive change.”

Brown-Forman’s 2009-2010 Corporate Responsibility Report highlights the company’s efforts to promote responsible drinking and combat alcohol abuse, including the recent launch of the www.ourthinkingaboutdrinking.com Web site where critical alcohol issues can be explored in greater depth and comments and opinions are invited. The report also addresses the company’s environmental, employee, and civic responsibility initiatives.

The report also acknowledges the company’s challenges, pointing out that it has not yet established a greenhouse gas reduction target and describing in detail a Southern Comfort television advertisement that was withdrawn from broadcast in the U.K. after receiving public complaints.

“We are pleased with our progress thus far,” said Varga, “but given our nearly 140-year history as company, we understand that being responsible in everything we do is an ongoing process that has no end.”

Brown-Forman Corporation is a producer and marketer of fine quality beverage alcohol brands, including Jack Daniel’s, Southern Comfort, Finlandia, Canadian Mist, Fetzer, Korbel, Gentleman Jack, el Jimador, Tequila Herradura, Sonoma-Cutrer, Chambord, Tuaca, Woodford Reserve, and Bonterra.

Important Information on Forward-Looking Statements:

This report contains statements, estimates, and projections that are "forward-looking statements" as defined under U.S. federal securities laws. Words such as "expect," "believe," "intend," "estimate," "will," "may," "anticipate," "project," and similar words identify forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date we make them. Except as required by law, we do not intend to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise. By their nature, forward-looking statements involve risks, uncertainties and other factors (many beyond our control) that could cause our actual results to differ materially from our historical experience or from our current expectations or projections. These risks and other factors include, but are not limited to:

  • deepening or expansion of the global economic downturn or turmoil in financial and equity markets (and related credit and capital market instability and illiquidity; decreased consumer and trade spending; higher unemployment; supplier, customer or consumer credit or other financial problems; further inventory reductions by distributors, wholesalers, or retailers; bank failures or governmental nationalizations, etc.)
  • competitors’ pricing actions (including price promotions, discounting, couponing or free goods), marketing, product introductions, or other competitive activities aimed at our brands
  • trade or consumer reaction to our product line extensions or new marketing initiatives
  • further decline in consumer confidence or spending, whether related to global economic conditions, wars, natural disasters, pandemics (such as swine flu), terrorist attacks or other factors
  • increases in tax rates (including excise, sales, corporate, individual income, dividends, capital gains), changes in tax rules (e.g., LIFO, foreign income deferral, U.S. manufacturing deduction) or accounting standards, tariffs, or other restrictions affecting beverage alcohol, and the unpredictability and suddenness with which they can occur
  • trade or consumer resistance to price increases in our products
  • tighter governmental restrictions on our ability to produce and market our products, including advertising and promotion
  • business disruption, decline or costs related to reductions in workforce or other cost-cutting measures
  • lower returns on pension assets, higher interest rates on debt, or significant changes in recent inflation rates (whether up or down)
  • fluctuations in the U.S. dollar against foreign currencies, especially the British pound, euro, Australian dollar, or Polish zloty
  • reduced bar, restaurant, hotel and other on-premise business; consumer shifts to discount stores to buy our products; or other price-sensitive consumer behavior
  • changes in consumer preferences, societal attitudes or cultural trends that result in reduced consumption of our products
  • distribution arrangement changes that affect the timing of our sales or limit our ability to market or sell our products
  • adverse impacts resulting from our acquisitions, dispositions, joint ventures, business partnerships, or portfolio strategies
  • lower profits, due to factors such as fewer used barrel sales, lower production volumes (either for our own brands or those of third parties), or cost increases in energy or raw materials, such as grapes, grain, agave, wood, glass, plastic, or closures
  • Climatic changes, agricultural uncertainties, our suppliers’ financial hardships or other factors that reduce the availability or quality of grapes, agave, grain, glass, closures, plastic, or wood
  • negative publicity related to our company, brands, personnel, operations, business performance or prospects
  • product counterfeiting, tampering, or contamination and resulting negative effects on our sales, brand equity, or corporate reputation
  • adverse developments stemming from state, federal or other governmental investigations of beverage alcohol industry business, trade, or marketing practices by us, our distributors, or retailers
  • impairment in the recorded value of inventory, fixed assets, goodwill or other intangibles

Contacts

Brown-Forman Corporation
Phil Lynch, 502-774-7928
Vice President
Director Corporate Communications
and Public Relations
or
Ben Marmor, 502-774-6691
Assistant Vice President
Director Investor Relations

Contacts

Brown-Forman Corporation
Phil Lynch, 502-774-7928
Vice President
Director Corporate Communications
and Public Relations
or
Ben Marmor, 502-774-6691
Assistant Vice President
Director Investor Relations