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Waste Not
Pernod Ricard Partnership Expands Circular Spirits Distribution

The spirits giant has expanded its partnership with ecoSPIRITS, whose closed-loop packaging system reduces waste and emissions from the production and transportation of bottled beverages.

As innovation around circular beverage packaging — and reusable packaging models, in particular — continues to grow, we’re seeing the emergence of everything from premium wine in kegs and incentives to use reusable mugs at Starbucks here in the US to Coca-Cola brands in returnable bottles in Latin America and water in returnable bottles in Asia.

Now, Pernod Ricard has expanded its effort on this front — the spirits giant recently entered into a five-year, global licensing agreement to enable the distribution of its spirits brands in ecoSPIRITS’ circular packaging solutions to on-trade venues (places that sell beverages for immediate consumption on the premises — ex: bars, restaurants and pubs) around the world.

The collaboration, which builds on the learnings of a pilot in Singapore in late 2022, aims to further promote circularity in the spirits industry, a core priority of Pernod Ricard’s 2030 Sustainability and Responsibility Roadmap, “Good Times from a Good Place.”

With ecoSPIRITS’ closed-loop packaging solutions, beverages are transported in bulk and delivered to hospitality venues in fully reusable, 4.5-liter glass ecoTOTE™ containers — thus reducing waste and carbon emissions resulting from the production and transportation of bottles and other secondary packaging.

The partnership with ecoSPIRITS is aligned with the “Circular Making” pillar of Pernod Ricard’s Sustainability & Responsibility Roadmap, which encourages circularity at every step of production and distribution.

“Pernod Ricard and ecoSPIRITS have been working together for almost three years now to make circularity a reality in the spirits industry,” says ecoSPIRITS CEO Paul Gabie. “This new global agreement builds on that journey, and our combined expertise, to bring circular packaging to more Pernod Ricard markets around the world. We are inspired by Pernod Ricard’s commitment to ‘Circular Making’ and look forward to working even more closely with their brands and market teams.”*

The relationship between the two companies began in Singapore in 2022, when Pernod Ricard became the first global drinks company to partner with EcoSPIRITS and piloted the startup’s closed-loop packaging technology with three of its iconic brands — Absolut vodka, Beefeater London Dry gin and Havana Club rum. The pilot was instrumental in identifying the practical challenges and opportunities of circular distribution — providing Pernod Ricard with invaluable insights into operational, technological and sustainability aspects critical for scaling up circular packaging solutions.

The pilot in Singapore was followed by a first local-market deployment under the new global agreement, with the introduction of a closed-loop system for Havana Club rum in the brand’s home market of Cuba. The new system has been consolidated at an industrial level, with a dedicated ecoPLANT™ at Havana Club’s distillery in San José de las Lajas. Pernod Ricard anticipates concrete outcomes from the initiative in Cuba — including reduced bottle imports that will translate into an 88 percent reduction of the carbon footprint related to premium spirits packaging and distribution, and a 99 percent reduction of glass waste.

“This next step in our partnership with ecoSPIRITS reflects our belief in the transformative power of this solution to enhance operational efficiency and reduce not only our environmental footprint, but the impact of our industry at large,” says Maria Pia De Caro, EVP of Integrated Operations and Sustainability at Pernod Ricard. “We are excited to continue working together to refine, scale and champion ecoSPIRITS as the future of wine and spirits distribution.”

As part of the original pilot, Beefeater gin, Havana Club rum and Absolut vodka were successfully deployed in ecoTOTE format and dispensed in Singapore venues using co-branded SmartPour™ technology. These brands will now be introduced to new markets under the new global agreement, with additional brands from Pernod Ricard’s portfolio to be added over time.

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