Member Spotlight: Aude Charbonneaux

August 17, 2023 | BIER

Name: Aude Charbonneaux | Head of Climate & Environment

Company: Pernod Ricard

Connect with Aude on LinkedIn

Welcome to our series aimed at spotlighting the individual leaders within BIER member companies and stakeholder organizations. Learn how these practitioners and their companies are addressing pressing challenges around water, energy, agriculture, climate change, and what inspires each of them to advance environmental sustainability in the beverage sector and collectively, overall.

Briefly describe your role and responsibilities and how long you have worked with your company.

I have started with Pernod Ricard for a little over one year. My role centers around climate and environment, and I am responsible for rolling out part of our 2030 Sustainability & Responsibility roadmap, ‘Good Times from a Good Place’ to make it operational and especially to track performance around the climate and environment. If you want to track performance, it means there has to be an agreement on targets and the methodology. How are you going to measure things? And which set of tools and systems will be allowed for monitoring performance?  So, from the definition of the metrics to setting up the methodology, the tools, and tracking of the performance, that’s more or less what my role encompasses.

Also, each year, I am expected to challenge our strategy, year over year, to evaluate opportunities. Basically, to see whether we should reinforce some aspects.

Interestingly, my team is part of the Operations department, which allows us to be closer to all those operating in the supply chain, which includes working with our affiliates, buyers, etc. Also, we work closely with the Sustainability & Responsibility department (CSR department) around our ambitions and strategy, whether we need to review our targets, revise our policy, reassess some risks, and things like that.

Our Sustainability & Responsibility roadmap includes 4 pillars: Nurturing Terroir, Valuing People, Circular Making and Responsible Hosting. The pillars address all aspects of our business, from grain to glass. Each of our pillars sets out ambitious goals and targets which we measure and report against to drive change throughout the business, and support performance through innovation, brand differentiation and talent attraction. It is the second pillar, Circular Making, where we have our strategy around climate, water, circular packaging, and that is where my responsibility lies.

How has the company’s sustainability program evolved over the years, and what are your specific priorities for 2023?

Looking at one of our four pillars, Circular Making, we are committed to reducing our scope 1&2 absolute GHG emissions by 54%, our scope 3 GHG emissions intensity by 2030 (vs 2018 baseline) by 50%, and following a Net Zero by 2050 trajectory. To do this, we are reducing our carbon emissions in our own operations by turning to new technologies and alternative energy, by procuring renewable electricity for our sites and offices. We are also working with our supply chain to help reduce our overall carbon footprint linked to the procurement of packaging and agricultural materials, as well as logistics. The procurement team is working very closely with our suppliers to understand their emissions, to understand their roadmap, and the best ways to capture more granular and specific data to better manage the journey of decarbonization.

Building upon that, the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) released new guidelines, and while they were fresh, we tried to use the guidance right at the beginning. So, we have analyzed our FLAG (forest, land, and agriculture-related) emissions and conducted a feasibility analysis to see how we can achieve this new ambition. In the process, we made progress in understanding how we may need to transform our Group in order to reach those new targets.

In parallel to this, we’ve also been working on reassessing our climate risks asking the question, “How would the Group be affected by future scenarios around climate in different rises of average temperature?

I’ve been involved with two studies this year that were very influential in terms of learning and awareness for the Group. They marked a clear new impulse for accelerating our transition to a lower carbon business model.

Overall, we are building momentum, and those are some of the key things we did this year that we can be proud of.

How do you feel being a BIER member will help you successfully address the key areas you are addressing in 2023?

This past May in Amsterdam, it was my first time meeting the BIER members in person. Before that, my participation with BIER has been online, and while I appreciated the experience, it was not the same. Meeting in person afforded me the opportunity to visit and discuss with everyone together. It opens my eyes to all the possibilities of more networking and reinforced the collaborative nature of BIER to work together to solve collective challenges. BIER covers many topics, each member has its expertise and strength and is ready to share. It is very open and enriching. For instance, some members are highly advanced on water, and while we could be more on carbon, we can leverage each other’s knowledge at some point. And all in all, we can balance ourselves, and it helps us to keep at a good pace.

Name one of the practical solutions or best practices you learned in working with BIER and its members and why it was important to you and/ or your company.

We appreciate BIER’s publications and guides as they are useful. One calculator that we used as a framework and modified for our use was a calculator to assess glass suppliers’ carbon footprint. We reviewed it and updated it a little bit to make our own calculator to collect the data from suppliers. It was a good foundation to start this work and develop an internal tool for our needs.

We also reference the bi-annual Water and Energy Benchmarking Reports. We refer to them and use them to better understand how our peers are doing and gain insights into industry best practices on water consumption, and challenge our strategies as well.

Share a recent accomplishment of your company’s sustainability initiatives/achievements you are most proud of and why.

This past year, we have been building a partnership with Ardagh Glass Packaging, a key supplier of glass, and co-investing with them in a low-carbon furnace. The move to a partly hydrogen energy-fired glass furnace for large-scale production is a significant step to reduce our CO2 emissions and shows that we can find solutions for ourselves and also support our suppliers in that transition.

Also, some of our distilleries in Europe have made strong commitments to become neutral on Scope 1 and Scope 2 by 2026. For every new distillery being built, the rule is that it has to be carbon neutral. That means no emission from Scope 1 and 2 and running those operations with renewable resources. So that’s also very impactful. The Group is really committed, and this makes me proud.

I’m very proud of what our team has accomplished, as well as our aims. Specifically, our Sustainability & Responsibility roadmap directly supports the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and is aligned with their 2030 plan.

If you had one superpower that could be used to radically accelerate and scale sustainable best practices, which one would it be, and how would you use it?

Transformation takes time. If I had a superpower it would be to accelerate the work we’re already doing to infiltrate all business operations, whether that be finance, marketing, or operations, and help all business operations immediately and simultaneously transform with sustainability as a priority. This would happen in one big wave, breaking down silos and bringing forth a new way of thinking by embracing environmental accounting across the entire company. Carbon, energy, and water are not everyone’s day-to-day, but everyone can have an impact no matter their job. And if all companies could switch at the same time, That would be great!

BIER Publications referenced in this interview:

The Beverage Industry Environmental Roundtable (BIER) is a technical coalition of leading global beverage companies working together to advance environmental sustainability within the beverage sector.
By BIER [crp]

The Beverage Industry Environmental Roundtable (BIER) is a technical coalition of leading global beverage companies working together to advance environmental sustainability within the beverage sector. Formed in 2006, BIER is a common voice across the beverage sector, speaking to influence global standards on environmental sustainability aspects most relevant to the sector, affect change both up and down the supply chain and share best practices that raise the bar for environmental performance of the industry. By doing so, BIER is able to monitor data and trends, engage with key stakeholders, develop best practices, and guide a course of action for the future.

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