Monday, October 2, 2023

With a Minority Stake In EcoSpirits, Pernod Ricard Plans for Sustainable Distribution


Spirits brand Pernod Ricard has taken a minority stake in EcoSpirits, a sustainable spirits distribution system.

Pernod Ricard, the world’s second-largest wine and spirit company and parent brand to Absolut, Beefeater, Chivas Regal, and Jameson, among others, joined EcoSpirits’ $10 million Series A funding round alongside New York-based circular economy investment fund Closed Loop Partners, food sector investor Proterra Asia, Singapore-based Pavilion Capital, and EcoSpirits’ existing backer, Wavemaker Partners.

Pernod made the deal through the Pernod Ricard’s Convivialité Ventures fund, which it says will help boost EcoSpirits’ ‘leadership position’.

The investment follows Pernod Ricard’s initial partnership with EcoSpirits in March 2022; it partnered with the startup to bring closed-loop packaging technology to some of its brands in Hong Kong and Singapore. At the time, Pernod Ricard said it was the first global spirits brand to partner with the sustainable packaging manufacturer. It put its Absolut Vodka, Beefeater gin, and Havana Club rum in the Ecotote.

EcoSpirits Ecototes | Courtesy

EcoSpirits is a leading provider of low-carbon, low-waste distribution systems for the wine and spirits sector; it does that primarily by avoiding glass bottles and secondary packaging. It’s behind the Ecotote — a machine washable box with a recyclable screw top and traceability through a QR tracking code.

“We are very pleased to participate in this investment which will help develop a company offering such an innovative solution to our industry, by drastically reducing waste and carbon emissions,” Stéphane Longuet, co-Founder and Managing Director of Convivialité Venturessaid in a statement “EcoSpirits’ approach is perfectly in line with our Group’s objectives to reduce its carbon emissions and we are looking forward to using it on a large scale around the world,” Longuet said.

“We are thrilled with the successful close of our Series A round, which not only validates EcoSpirits’ impressive progress in building a comprehensive technology platform, but also marks a significant milestone in our journey to global scale,” Sui Ling Cheah, EcoSpirits executive board chairman, said in a statement.

The investment builds on Pernod Ricard’s sustainability commitments. Last December, it announced plans to invest $250 million over five years to build a carbon-neutral and LEED-certified distillery for its Jefferson’s Bourbon brand in Marion County, Kentucky.

“American whiskey is booming, and Jefferson’s growth has been phenomenal,” Ann Mukherjee, Chairman and CEO, Pernod Ricard North America, said in a statement. “We’re very bullish on the brand’s potential, and we’re committed to making our new Jefferson’s facility one of the most exemplary distilleries in the world in order to achieve it.”

Absolut vodka
Courtesy Absolut

The facility is expected to run on solar power, using natural lighting throughout the property. It will also use electrode boilers powered by certified renewable electricity, enabling the distillery to eliminate fossil fuels from its bourbon production. The facility will also feature on-site electric trucks and facility vehicles powered by renewable electricity.

Jefferson’s is also expected to continue to partner with local farmers and suppliers to source ingredients and casks.  

“Our company is an agricultural company at its core and so it is vital that we lead the category forward — in partnership with our farmers and growers — and remain committed to the long-term sustainability of our people, our industry, and our planet. This investment is the latest illustration of that belief,” said Mukherjee.

Pernod Ricard’s Chivas Brothers also made commitments to build carbon-neutral facilities — a move that follows efforts by The Absolut Company which has become the industry standard for sustainable spirits production.

All of these efforts are moving Pernod toward its 2030 global sustainability targets aligned with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

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