The Pernod Ricard way
Drinking is meant to be a social activity. But excessive drinking can be harmful. So can an alcoholic beverage company be socially responsible ? Pernod Ricard seems to think so. Not only does the company take social responsibility seriously, but it has put its long-time reputation and brand at stake.
Alcohol abuse causes 2,5 million deaths each year according to the World Health Organization (WHO). That’s 320 000 people aged 15 to 29 who die from alcohol-related diseases, or 9% of all deaths for that age group. One of the world’s leading manufacturers of wines and spirits, Pernod Ricard is acutely conscious of the Group’s key role in promoting responsible drinking.
Pernod Ricard decided to go the socially responsible route and encourage a “responsible drinking” ethos. Its approach is guided by ISO 26000 and how it believes there can be no sustainable economic performance, without putting in place a corporate social responsibility (SR) policy.
For Pernod Ricard social responsibility goes hand in hand with sustainable development in that it seeks to reconcile financial efficiency, social equity and environmental protection on the path to continuous improvement. In its long history, the Group has always placed a strong emphasis on people and cultures, guided by a long-term vision, so that it is often seen as a pioneer in this area.
According to André Hémard, VP Corporate Social Responsibilty for the Group, Pernod Ricard’s priorities are twofold. The first is to promote responsible drinking. Specifically, Pernod Ricard hopes to become a reference on issues of drink-driving and education. The second is to limit its environmental impact with a five-pronged approach including environmental management, sustainable farming, water usage, energy consumption versus CO2 emissions and eco-packaging. So far, ISO 26000 has proved a first-rate tool, helping Pernod Ricard cover every aspect of its SR strategy and gradually fine-tune its actions and initiatives.
Finally, Pernod Ricard was chosen to pilot the implementation of the new French experimental standard XP X30-027, which helps companies give credibility to a social responsibility strategy based on ISO 26000. This standard provided the group with the tools to assess the credibility of its SR scheme against ISO 26000, helping it improve its corporate strategy and activities.