The Tequila Regulatory Council (CRT) aims for 100% of tequila production to be certified as deforestation free by 2027. To date, the tequila industry has implemented a number of initiatives toward decarbonization, efficient water use and the implementation of sustainable agricultural practices.
Ramón González, Director, CRT, said the tequila industry has invested over MX$7 million (US$413,799.6) to transition toward sustainable production. “In the coming years, every agave beverage will have to demonstrate that its productive chain is free of deforestation, with a focus on emissions reduction," he said.
The tequila industry, in alliance with the CRT, has set a Sustainability Strategy aligned with 16 of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be achieved by 2030. “In 2016, the Mario Molina Center helped determine the carbon and water footprints of our national beverage, which allowed us to lay the foundations for the transformation of this agro-industry, using data registered as far back as 2014," recalled González.
One of the first measures was the creation of the Agave Environmental Responsibility Certification (ARA), which became the first to demonstrate deforestation traceability in alcoholic beverages worldwide. The commitment is for all tequila produced by 2027 to have the ARA certification. Currently, six tequila companies have launched their first batch of ARA tequila, with a production of over 800,000L already certified as deforestation-free.
González highlighted that the industry has implemented projects aimed at reducing environmental impacts throughout the productive chain, including vinasse treatment plants (bioreactors), biomass boilers, solar cells, the replacement of fuel oil with natural gas and the implementation of energy efficiency systems, among others. “These actions are crucial to ensure the preservation of the environment and the long-term viability of the Mexican tequila industry. We aim to become a global emblem for sustainable agro-industries." stated González.
Specialists have warned that the expansion of cultivated areas for agave directly contributes to the destruction of ecosystems. Dánae Cabrera, Ecology Researcher, Universidad de Guadalajara, pointed out that the current agave production rate is unsustainable in the medium term, as there is a risk that soon producers will run out of sowing land, as reported by MBN. CRT pointed out that over the past three decades, tequila production has escalated by 526%, with projections to double in the next four years.