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Mr. Rajneet Oak, Chief
Commercial Officer, Pernod Ricard India

In conversation with Rupaak, CSR Times, Mr. Rajneet Oak, Chief Commercial Officer, Pernod Ricard India, shared his views about the recently launched industry-first initiative….

#OneForOurPlanet is an industry-first initiative by Pernod Ricard. What prompted the inception of this initiative? Do you envision it to be a significant shift in the industry?

We live in a world that is constantly evolving, from climate change to brimming sea levels to overflowing waste pits/landfills. The need to lead a change is fervent now more than ever. A few recent reports state that 43% of mono-cartons end up in landfills. According to a report* by ASSOCHAM and PwC, landfills are brimming with so much urban waste that by 2050, India is reportedly going to need a landfill that is the size of its capital, New Delhi. Visualize a landfill equivalent to the size of a city, it’s alarming!

Over the last decade, sustainability has grown to take the center stage in the alcoholic beverage industry. The industry depends heavily on quality ingredients and healthy ecosystems and is strongly affected by damage related to climate change.

At Pernod Ricard India, we have always strived to work towards a circular future, with people, planet, and community at the core of our business. With a commitment to minimize waste at every step, we launched an industry-first initiative – #OneForOurPlanet, a step towards ensuring minimal contribution to landfills, which are brimming with waste. With this landmark initiative, we aim to remove 100% permanent mono-cartons from our packaging by June 2023 along with inspiring consumers to not only make eco-conscious purchase decisions but also champion this cause and help us evangelize this into a larger movement.

A step towards a greener tomorrow, the initiative strives to generate a holistic impact by reducing carbon emissions every year by 7310 Tonnes, saving 2.5 Lakhs of trees every year and reducing waste-to-land fill by 18745 tons. We envision this initiative to become a larger movement and our stakeholders to turn into advocates by practicing and propagating eco-conscious consumption.

How does #OneForOurPlanet align with Pernod Ricard’s larger sustainability roadmap for 2023?

As a responsible corporate citizen present in India for over 25 years, sustainability is the key to Pernod Ricard India’s operations. It is one of the four essentials of our growth model and is embedded in our 3Y strategic business plan – ‘Transform & Accelerate’.

As an organization of purpose, we work towards an enriched value chain that is committed to supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goals, ensuring our business is aligned with the ‘World’s to-do list’ to help reach prosperity for the planet and its people. #OneForOurPlanet and its goal of achieving 100% sustainable primary packaging is an important arm towards this target.

By eliminating the manufacturing and transportation of non-essential packaging, this initiative has a three-pronged aim to firstly reduce our carbon footprint, eliminate our water footprint in secondary packaging and help reduce deforestation.

At Pernod Ricard India, we say we are the “Créateurs de Convivialité,” or Creators of Conviviality. We believe that there can be no convivialité in excess and strive to be sustainable and responsible at every step, from grain to glass.

What kind of impact do you foresee #OneForOurPlanet to create among your consumers and the industry at large?

Resources are finite and under pressure which makes it imperative for us to minimise waste at every step while integrating new production methods to optimize and help preserve natural resources. The last decade has witnessed the Food and Beverage industry in India evaluate its impact on the environment and integrate sustainable practices into their businesses. While brands across the sphere have taken steps to manage their waste, as leaders in the wine and spirits industry, we wish to lead by example.

Pernod Ricard India is steering a conscious consumption movement by senstizing and educating its consumers. We believe that together we can make a significant difference and trust that our partners and customers will whole-heartedly join us in bringing ‘responsible retailing’ together with ‘responsible consumption’ practices, by cascading this environment-first initiative. We strive to lead by example with our #OneForOurPlanet initiative and are happy to see other industry players follow suit.

Apart from removing mono cartons, how else are you integrating sustainability in your business?

Sustainability is one of the four essentials of Pernod Ricard India’s growth model. In fact, our 2030 Sustainability & Responsibility roadmap directly supports the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The four pillars of our roadmap – Nurturing Terroir, Valuing People, Circular Making, and Responsible Hosting – address all aspects of our business from grain to glass.

Nurturing Terrior: Every Pernod Ricard product takes its character from the land where it was grown. With +4000 biodiversity plots, we are working on sustainable, regenerative, water-efficient practices and have impacted +21,000 farmers till date. We are aiming to double this number in the next two years.

Valuing people: People are at the heart of everything we do at Pernod Ricard and the foundation of our collective spirit. We promote diversity and inclusion throughout our business and supply chain. Our community penetration programs proudly reach more than 1000 villages and nearly 25 of our plants across India. In the past two years, we have impacted 2.2 million lives, with over 110 programs.

Responsible Hosting — We want to turn social interactions into genuine and friendly experiences of sharing and well being. As a responsible company, we want to ensure that our brands are enjoyed responsibly. We have been Promoting Responsible Conviviality with three strong Alcohol Misuse Prevention programs, in partnership with State Governments.

Circular Making — Pernod Ricard India is committed to minimizing waste at every step of its value chain. Our efforts are concentrated on 4Rs i.e., Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Recharge. We are a Water Positive organisation (2.6 times) mitigating replenishment at all extremely high- and high-water risk sites. We are also progressing rapidly towards operating on 100% renewable electricity by 2025. Four of our Units are ‘Platinum’ certified under the ‘Zero Waste to Landfill.’