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Pernod Ricard's Vanessa Wright On The Company's Progress Towards Sustainability

By Steve Wynne-Jones
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As part of our Sustainability 2023 report, ESM caught up with industry leaders across a host of leading retail and consumer goods firms to discuss their ESG achievements to date, efforts made to tackle Scope 3 emissions, and what the current cost-of-living crisis means for sustainability – both for themselves and their consumer base.

Vanessa Wright, Chief Sustainability Officer, Pernod Ricard

While the main sustainability focus of global consumers is the carbon footprint of products, we know this varies from country to country and have also seen an increase in concerns about ingredients and biodiversity, reflecting emerging focuses on people’s own health and the health of the planet.

However, we know they are divided between making purchasing decisions based on their values and their situation amid the rising cost of living and global economic uncertainty.

Developing A Road Map

Sustainability and responsibility (S&R), which is how we talk about ESG at Pernod Ricard, is a key pillar of our group strategy, part of our company mission, and the focus of our ambitious 2030 S&R road map, called ‘Good Times from a Good Place’.

This road map was created with two guiding principles: being passionate hosts by promoting responsible drinking and creating a better way to live and work together, and being respectful guests who care for the environment by partnering with local farmers and communities to benefit our planet, customers and business.

Our S&R road map creates lots of opportunities for us as a group. It strengthens our resilience and performance as a business, encourages innovation and fresh thinking, and gives us a new way to engage our customers around the world.

It’s so important that ESG is embedded across the business, to achieve strategic impact at scale, particularly for a global organisation like Pernod Ricard.

Strong engagement with our vision has been key to ensuring everyone across our group is aligned around our shared mission, and, as a result, we have teams that are empowered and proactive in pushing the boundaries and implementing real solutions in their own functions.

Addressing Scope 3 Emissions

Scope 3 emissions are complicated to measure and challenging to address. Ninety-four per cent [94%] of our emissions are Scope 3 and arise from our indirect operations, so it is essential that we work across our value chain and in collaboration with our suppliers and farmers to reduce emissions.

By 2030, we have committed to reduce the intensity of our Scope 3 carbon footprint by 50%, from a 2018 base year, covering packaging and points of sale, liquid product, and transportation. We know that 48% of our emissions are from raw-material sourcing, and in order to tackle this, we are developing sustainable and regenerative farming practices in our terroirs.

True to our vision, ‘Créateurs de convivialité,’ we believe in working with others and sharing best practice around the world, to strengthen what we do collectively. For example, we are committed to ensuring all our packaging and POS are 100% recyclable, compostable or reusable by 2025, but without the infrastructure in place to recycle packaging, that investment from us doesn’t actually achieve the desired impact.

That’s why it’s absolutely crucial for everyone involved in the value chain to go on this journey together, and that includes governments.

We believe a key element of this is also the conversation we have with our customers – they are a powerful force in driving change. There’s been such significant traction achieved in ESG in the last five years, and that conversation has really come to the forefront, as consumers became more aware and used their voice to force change.

This article first appeared in ESM’s November/December 2022 edition.

© 2022 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest A-Brands news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.

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