It has been extremely gratifying to see how the food and beverage industry, as much as any other, treats climate change and sustainability as a critical effort at what has been called a tipping point in history. of the world. In food and drink, especially in the wine industry, climatic factors have always been crucial for their survival. As one of the biggest players in the world market, Moët Hennessey, the stakes are paramount. I interviewed Sandrine Sommer, Chief Sustainability Officer of Moët Hennessy, to find out how they manage business with a vision of the near and distant future.
Why has MH put so much effort into sustainable development?
As a world leader in luxury wines and spirits with many iconic Maisons, we recognize our unique responsibility to our stakeholders and the planet as a whole. Since the days of our original founders, our mission has always been to ensure that people and nature coexist harmoniously – to make the best of the land and give back to it. Today, Moët Hennessy is accelerating sustainable development initiatives, articulating our commitments and setting objectives involving all our employees, distributors, partners, customers and consumers around the world. Our sustainability program is a fantastic opportunity to innovate, so that we can meet present and future challenges together, thus having a lasting positive impact on our industry.
What is PADV and how does MH get involved?
As part of our unwavering commitment to regenerate our soils, we have called on the support of PADV, a French NGO made up of several experts in this field, to help us test and learn regenerative viticulture and agroforestry practices on different sites, which we have already started in Champagne and Provence. This partnership allows us to benefit from PADV’s network of experts as we progress in technical areas and ensure we have the right KPIs in place to measure our progress. We have also partnered with Reforest’Action, a company that works with partners and individuals to regenerate forests around the world. One of our Champagne Houses, Ruinart has dedicated 40 hectares of its historic vineyard to a pilot agroforestry project that will help promote biodiversity by providing habitats for wildlife. Hennessy, our Cognac House, is particularly sensitive to reforestation because the Cognac barrels are made of wood. Beyond its own sourcing, the House, in partnership with Reforest’Action, participates in the regeneration of forests at local, national and international levels, particularly in Europe, North America and Africa.
What is the Living Soils Living Together program?
“Living the Soils Living Together” is our sustainable development program which articulates our 4 major commitments: Regenerating our Soils, Reducing our Climate Impact, Being Committed to society and Valuing our Talents. To help regenerate our soils, we continue to reduce treatments, carefully manage the water supply, and promote biodiversity everywhere. In terms of mitigating our climate impact, we are continuing our efforts to drastically reduce our carbon emissions, in particular by eco-designing our packaging and marketing, by opting for low-carbon transport, by reducing energy consumption, and by increasing the transparency and traceability of our activities. To engage society, we raise awareness of the importance of responsible consumption, ensure business integrity and support the growth of local communities. Finally, we empower our teams by involving them in sustainable development initiatives and by promoting diversity, equity and inclusion in a spirit of solidarity and in the interest of the common good.
Has MH shared his scientific knowledge with other winegrowers / distillers?
We actively encourage partners and stakeholders in the regions where we operate to improve their sustainable development practices. In Champagne and Cognac, for example, we support our winegrowers in obtaining environmental certifications by offering them training and other incentives. At Hennessy, we already only use biogas in our distilleries and share this good practice with our distillers. At Belvedere, we intend to help our strategic raw spirits suppliers move from 100% to 0% dependence on coal with a renewable energy plan. We are aware that we cannot act alone, which is why we presented our commitments at Vinexpo Paris last year to encourage the entire industry to become more involved. We will continue to share and capitalize on best practices. To that end, we will have an event in June 2022. More to come soon on this topic
Although MH does not have vineyards in Bordeaux and Burgundy, is there a consensus that global warming will eventually hurt the vineyards of Bordeaux and Burgundy (which could use more heat?)?
Global warming will change all of our lives, and if we can already see its impact in our vineyards, we are working tirelessly to find ways to alleviate the situation: we have built a new R&D center in Champagne dedicated to advancing development. sustainable. We also plant hedges and plant cover in the vines, which promote biodiversity, but also adapt to climate change, because they provide humidity and shade in summer and protect the vines from frost in winter.
How does the Paris Agreement fit into all of this?
If you are referring to the Paris Agreement, we are aware of our key role and are doing our part to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius. Our consolidated carbon footprint target by 2030, for all our Houses combined, is to stay below the 1.5 trajectory, i.e. to reduce our carbon emissions by up to 50% compared to to 2019. We know it’s ambitious, but we also realize that we have no choice. The Chairman and CEO of Moët Hennessy, Philippe Schaus, and the Executive Committee fully support our sustainable development program and make it a priority in all pivotal meetings of MH and LVMH.
How did your new Belvedere luxury vodka succeed in reducing CO2 emissions so dramatically?
Belvedere’s natural and straightforward approach finds an echo in its new communication platform, Made with Nature. Beyond a campaign, Made with Nature talks not only about Belvedere’s products and lifestyle, but also about its commitment to Moët Hennessy’s sustainable development program, Living Soils Living Together. In terms of CO2 reduction, already from 2012 to 2017, Belvedere reduced its energy CO2 emissions by 42% by shifting fuel sources. Then, in 2018, Belvedere became the first spirits distillery to receive a grant from the European Commission to pilot an ambitious green energy initiative that saw the installation of an on-site biomass facility in the first quarter of 2021. The new plant will start producing 100% renewable energy. , reducing energy-related CO2 emissions by 80% for Belvedere. Biomass captured in production waste, including natural by-products and heat recovered from the distillation process, will generate enough energy to power both the distillery and neighboring businesses. – many of which depend on burning coal for fuel. We are currently developing a plan to supply the electricity grid in our hometown of Żyrardów, Poland, with internally produced green energy from 2024.
Why does Glenmorangie Scotch care about sustainability?
Glenmorangie has worked for many years on sustainability initiatives, including reducing energy consumption and improving water quality. With two coastal distilleries, and in a conscious concern to reduce its impact on the environment, the Glenmorangie company installed in 2017 an anaerobic digestion plant capable of neutralizing 95% of the distillery waste before it enters the neighboring sea, known as Dornoch. Firth. The plant is also reducing the distillery’s fuel demand by 15% by creating biogas and returning copper-rich fertilizers to the Ross-shire barley fields. To address the remaining 5%, the team looked at biofilters as part of an initiative launched in 2014. The Dornoch Environmental Enhancement Project (DEEP) is a collaboration between industry, academia and organizations. to restore native European oysters in the protected areas of the Dornoch Firth, as these organisms, which were depleted from the waters by man 100 years ago, are effective biofilters. The Company’s long-term ambition with DEEP is to expand the number of oysters in the Dornoch to 200,000 over three years, then to four million over five years, creating a sustainable oyster reef of 40 hectares.