Pernod Ricard unveils new sustainability strategy

Pernod Ricard has unveiled a new long-term sustainability strategy that will see it ban single-use plastic, commit to 100% recyclable or compostable packaging, slash its carbon footprint and implement gender balance in its top management teams by 2030.

The new strategy, unveiled at the company’s Martel distillery in Cognac yesterday, lays out eight ambitious targets in four key areas, which include nurturing its terroir and boosting biodiversity, valuing people through increasing diversity and training, minimising waste and creating a circular economy and fighting alcohol misuse though responsible hosting.

CEO Alexandre Ricard said it was the “perfect time” to set very ambitious goals in all aspects of its business and the company would continue to build for the longer-term.

The ‘Good Times form a Good Place’ initiative will see changes implemented to respond to the challenges of climate change, including formulating strategic biodiversity for all of the Group’s global affiliates, and developing regenerative projects in vineyards in 8 different wine regions – Argentina, California, Cognac, Champagne, Spain, Australia, New Zealand and China by 2030. This is aimed at mimicking natural processes to improve the quality of top soil, watershed (the land that drains into rivers and lakes) and the wider ecosystem.

As part of its plans for valuing people, it has pledged to ensure equal pay across the business by 2022, and ensure the top management teams are gender balanced by 2030. Training is also on the agenda, with ‘future-fit training” being provide to its staff at least every 3 years to develop new skills, and training for 10,000 bartenders to work in a more sustainable way, by being anti-waste and plastic-free.

It also plans to ban all promotional items made from single-use plastic, and ensure 100% of its packaging is recyclable, compostable, reusable or bio-based by 2025, as well as piloting initiatives to boost recycling rates in its top 10 largest markets with low recycling levels.

Finally it will boost its commitment to responsible drinking though its Responsible Party program and new program to fight alcohol misuse.

Vanessa Wright, VP sustainability & responsibility, who oversaw the company’s decision to ban single-use straws in January 2018, will lead the overall project.

She said the customers expected the company’s brands to be responsible and respectful of the environment and although this had been embedded in the company’s ethos, the new roadmap helped place the responsibility right across all areas of the business.

“These 2030 commitments provide us with a focused framework across our business in helping to address some of the biggest sustainability issues, so consumers can enjoy our products in a convivial and sustainable way,” she said.

She added that the company needed to make sure it was responsible in the way it put together its communications and marketing campaigns.  “That means really exploring creative routes to break stereotypes, which is something that we’ll be looking at by at least by 2023,” she said.

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