Global wine and spirits company Pernod Ricard accelerated its timeline for banning single-use plastic point-of-sale items. Originally planned for 2025, the target has been moved up to 2021.
The change comes during the covid-19 pandemic, which is forcing many sustainability leaders to take a closer look at their plans around reducing single-use plastics and reusable packaging. For Alexandre Ricard, Pernod Ricard’s chairman and CEO, the economic crisis precipitated by the pandemic has only sharpened the need to address climate change.
Recently Ricard and the chief executives of more than 90 French and international companies signed an op-ed published in Le Monde that argued for putting the environment at the center of economic recovery. Leaders from BASF, Bosch, GE, LafargeHolcim, LVMH, Michelin, Nokia, Orange, Renault, Siemens, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, and Veolia were among the signatories.
“For the past two years, we have been striving to accelerate every aspect of our business, and the current crisis must not be a threat but rather an opportunity to speed up the implementation of our Sustainability & Responsibility roadmap,” Ricard said. Putting an end to promotional items made from single-use plastic represents one of those opportunities, he added.
Currently the company is sharing global sustainable point-of-sale guidance with its 90 affiliates around the world. These guidelines indicate the materials that can no longer be used, and how to replace them. The ban applies to all point-of-sale items except tasting cups.
Pernod Ricard’s portfolio includes Absolut Vodka, Jameson, Kahlúa, Seagram’s, Jacob’s Creek, Kenwood wines as well as Mumm and Perrier-Jouët Champagnes. In 2018, the company banned plastic straws and stirrers at all its events. They are now in the process of transitioning entirely to packaging that’s recyclable, compostable, reusable or bio-based.
“We know there are limitations related to resources,” Pernod Ricard group environmental manager Carine Christophe told Environment + Energy Leader last fall, when asked about the business case for setting circularity goals. “If we don’t avoid the use of resources in the long-term, we will not be able to grow as we are growing now.”