Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

Pernod Ricard’s Executive Vice President Yashika Singh, discusses several topics that revolve around climate change impacts, circularity, carbon footprints and Pernod’s strategies to support India’s low-carbon goals, she also speaks of the greater role of women in rural development.

In your opinion what are the strategies needed to be put in place for the circularity concept for businesses?

A circular business model focuses on creating a bespoke supply chain to recover and recycle resources used to create products. This ultimately helps a business lower its ecological footprint and deliver higher value to its stakeholders. Mature businesses know the less than optimal impact of linear business models and increasingly are moving towards a more resource efficient circular economy. Certain aspects that need to be kept in focus include:

 

    • Product and material sourcing need to be procured using renewable resources, and not materials that cannot be reused/re-purposed in the supply chain

 

 

    • Utilizing raw materials that can be further recycled post the manufacturing process, without causing ecological damage

 

 

    • Extend the value of resources to use them in multiple steps across the manufacturing process or use them for value post they clear the manufacturing process

 

Water resources development and management remain at the heart of sustainable development, and economic growth, being beverage manufacturers, how is Pernod Ricard India balancing its water consumption?

Water is a critical resource not just for communities, but also for environmental conservation. At Pernod Ricard, we are cognizant of concerns arising from water usage and how our industry needs concrete steps towards responsible consumption and treatment. Having replenished 1.2 times more groundwater than we withdrew in 2019, we are a net water-positive company and have rapidly scaled up our drive ever since, we aim to replenish 2.6 times water this year.

Our comprehensive Water Stewardship Program is based on the principle of 4R’s: Reduce-Reuse-Recycle-Recharge. In addition to this, through the Pernod Ricard India Foundation’s WAL (Water, Agriculture, Livelihoods) program, we are working with a 4-progned community-driven approach :-

 

    • Safeguarding year-round access to water to communities with rainwater storage and recharge structures generating groundwater recharge potential. We also construct water saving structures and conduct activities focusing on maintaining sustainable and cost-effective methods to reduce consumption of water in agri-allied activities while also increasing yield dividends for small and marginal farmers.

 

 

    • Promoting best community practices for improved production, drought resilience, resource optimization and creating local value chains with focus on creating locally feasible, climate resilient and low-cost approaches to provide scale to the productivity of crops.

 

 

    • Regenerative and restorative approaches for sustainable resource use in agri-allied livelihoods by encouraging farming communities to institutionalize Natural Resource Management as a core component of agricultural livelihoods and seasonal cycles. W.A.L. program has outreached to 7,532 small and marginal farmers while generating 2,188 million litres of groundwater recharge potential through 1,520 storage and recharge structures.

 

 

    • Greater participation and ownership by women in rural development since they are major stakeholders in community interventions : Through WAL, focused efforts are made to empower and enable rural women to step out of 4 walls, take ownership and develop better decision-making power and rights in livelihood activities and social disclosure. Till date 77 Women Producer Groups (WPGs) have been empowered through W.A.L. interventions.

 

What systems have you put in place to reduce the organization’s carbon footprints?

As a sustainability focused organization, Pernod Ricard India is committed to supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goals, addressing wastewater concerns, adopting, and working on achieving renewable electricity by 2025, while achieving our goals towards reducing the carbon-footprint across the supply chain. Our group’s sustainability and responsibility roadmap — 2030, ‘Good Times From a Good Place’, ensures our business is aligned with the ‘World’s to-do list’ to nurture people, planet, and communities. Some of the objectives include:

 

    • Commitment towards Nurturing Terroir: Every Pernod Ricard product takes its character from the land where it was grown. This area of commitment focuses on nurturing every terroir and its biodiversity, responding to the challenges of climate change to ensure quality ingredients for our products currently and for generations to come.

 

 

    • Working towards Preserving Circular Manufacturing: We are committed to minimizing waste at every step by imagining, producing, and distributing our products in ways that optimize and help preserve natural resources for future generations.

 

 

    • Reimagining circularity in packaging and waste – by 2030 the Group will pilot 5 new circular ways of distributing wine & spirits thereby help increase recycling rates in its top 10 largest markets in the world

 

 

    • Ensuring water balance in operations and a low carbon-footprint – by 2030, Pernod Ricard aims to be water balanced in operation in all high-risk watersheds (like India and Australia), replenishing 100% of water consumption from production sites. In relation to carbon emissions, Pernod Ricard is committed to reducing the overall intensity of its carbon footprint by 50% by 2030, in line with the Science-Based Targets (SBTs) initiative.

 

On circularity, can you please brief us on the packaging criteria that has evolved at Pernod Ricard

In May 2022, we announced a major environment-first initiative to remove mono-carton packaging from our Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) brands portfolio which will remove 500 million pieces of permanent mono-cartons annually. The idea is to reduce carbon footprint and our contribution to landfills in India by eliminating the manufacturing and transportation of non-essential packaging.

This initiative from Pernod Ricard India aims to inspire consumers to make eco-conscious purchase decisions, reduce waste to landfill for secondary packaging and contribute to the Company’s 2030 Responsibility & Sustainability roadmap.

Further, we are also working towards introducing recycled content in glass (50%) and plastic (25%) by 2025. We have eliminated single use plastic Point-of-sale and are committed to eradicating plastic pet minis by 2025. This is in-line with our vision towards achieving 100% recyclable/ compostable/ reusable/ biobased primary packaging and 100% certified cardboard by 2025.

Is economic growth and reducing emissions possible at the same time?

Absolutely! We are at a point where economic growth and reducing emissions now work in tandem. Following a circular economy is the perfect example of how one can advance toward economic growth, while being mindful of their carbon footprint. Case in point, circular business models use already existing materials and products as inputs and therefore their environmental footprint tends to be considerably less than that of traditional business models.

Imbibing business models like the ‘circular concept’, the manufacturing industry is moving towards a sustainable business model. The model helps decrease reliance on non-renewable resources and increase reliance on reusable resources, ultimately improving consumption patterns in the manufacturing process. This leads to improved productivity as well as an overall win-win for any organization.

Why is the innovation culture crucial for industries to succeed?

Currently we are at the cusp of a critical change for industries. Digital transformation is now not just a checkbox to tick, but an integral step to be future ready. Looking at the evolving consumer demands and consumption trends, it is critical for industries to innovate. Innovation in product offerings, consumer engagement and even operations is imperative to stay ahead of the curve.

We at Pernod Ricard, foster a circular mindset and apply our five principles: Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Respect across the business. We align our consumers’ aspirations, with the most comprehensive portfolio in the industry and our innovative capabilities to constantly design and develop new products, new services, and new experiences.

We’re continuing to push boundaries in the spirits and wine industry by creating innovative campaigns with the hopes of addressing important and provocative cultural issues.

Apart from thinking outside the box, we also partner with and invest in brands and startups that deliver innovative products, services, and experiences to help us redefine the future of conviviality.

India is a dynamic market, and the evolved consumer today seeks value, purpose, and convenience in everything that they do. Insight-led innovation enables businesses to cater to multiple stakeholders, by delivering what they expect from brands, today.

Do you believe that there is a future of a self-reliant India with the advent of Industry 4.0?

As mentioned earlier, digital transformation and acceleration is now integral for industries to adapt to – Industry 4.0 is all about using Internet of Things (IOT), cloud computing, analytics, AI, and machine learning to your advantage. The manufacturing industry in India is steadily working towards adopting these processes into their daily tasks and are reaping significant benefits as well. Adopting the practices of Industry 4.0 is also allowing industries to expand their business mandates.

India is ready to advance its ambitions towards self-reliance or Atmanirbhar Bharat through the innovation offered by Industry 4.0. By implementing ‘digitally- equipped data driven processes’ across the board for industries and scaling up sustainable business practices, industries are getting more attuned and empowered for a self-reliant India

What is the one big learning you would want to share with young leaders to succeed in the corporate world today?

It is important to understand vital changes that the industry needs by being up to speed with sectoral trends. This requires multi-fold engagement with stakeholders and consumers to understand their needs and requirements for better solutions. Data-driven insights, research and analytics is also enabling and empowers industries to optimize solutions and cater to the evolving demand of key stakeholders.

Edited by: Queenie Nair

 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members