Laetitia Delaye, Head of CSR at Rémy Cointreau, gives a detailed road map of the French spirits group’s initiatives to lighten the carbon impact of its packaging. Reducing secondary packaging by 85% is just one of the company's strategies. Read our preview of the full interview to be published in sister publication Formes de Luxe’s upcoming spring issue.
How much does packaging account for in Rémy Cointreau’s carbon footprint?
LD: Overall, packaging represents about 40% of the group’s carbon footprint across the entire value chain: scope 1, scope 2, and scope 3. This is obviously a huge lever for reduction, hence the packaging development team’s roadmap that is an integral part of the group’s global strategic plan, L’Exception Durable (Sustainable Excellence), which outlines actions to reduce our carbon footprint.
How exactly will the group reduce its packaging’s environmental impact?
LD: We are working on the 3R concept: reduce, recycle, and reuse. To “reduce,” we are taking two major actions: the first is to eliminate excess packaging in the form of gift boxes. In 2019, 21% of our bottles were sold naked, or without secondary packaging, and in 2021 that proportion increased to 76%. This demonstrates the group’s commitment to eliminating unnecessary packaging and will enable us to not only reduce our carbon footprint, but also to cut down on consumer waste. Two years ago, we were a pioneer in this area; most of the other players in the drinks sector are only just beginning to make this commitment. Our champagne brand Telmont led the way with its commitment to 100% packaging-free bottles.
Will the group eliminate all secondary packaging in the long-term?
LD: We are aiming for 85% of our bottles to be sold naked by 2025. Whether you are trying to reduce carbon footprint or cutting down on water consumption—after all it takes an enormous amount of water to make cardboard—sustainability is extremely demanding. As regards the end consumer, we are aware that they too must accept to forgo excess packaging.
Are consumers ready to give up on gift cases?
LD: Certain regions are more prepared than others. It might come as a surprise, but consumers in North America are very much on the forefront. We began our campaign in the United States by eliminating gift boxes from Rémy Martin VSOP cognac and consumers got on board. European clients are also quite conscious of the value of sustainable approaches. It might take more time in Asia, where clients need to be informed as to why secondary packaging isn’t essential.
Does this strategy also apply to your premium products?
LD: Secondary packaging will probably remain a mainstay in the premium segment, which explains our target of 85% rather than 100% at the group level. However, this doesn’t mean that we don’t have plans to reduce the premium products’ packaging’s environmental impact—but for the moment our developments in this area are under wraps.
Read the full interview in Formes de Luxe next month as Laetitia Delaye discusses Remy Cointreau’s initiatives to “reduce, reuse and recycle” its packaging.