«For a firm like Pernod Ricard, it’s a democratic imperative to contribute to the vitality of public debate worldwide on matters where the Group can speak with particular authority. That’s why our Government Affairs teams are committed to providing national legislators with undisputed technical expertise. The aim is to educate them about our industry, analyse the impact of proposed laws and regulations on our business and promote solutions that are positive, proportional and effective.»
Jean Rodesch, VP Government Affairs
All of our lobbying is conducted openly, transparently and ethically.
Pernod Ricard actively participates in legislative and/or government deliberations, arguing for our positions and solutions on behalf of the industry and other stakeholders, both at the local and national level. We do this either through industry associations of which we are a member or directly, when an issue specifically affects the Group. The Group’s Vice President Government Affairs and S&R defines and oversees the deployment of our lobbying policy, ensuring at every stage that our practices are wholly aligned with our CSR commitments.
Each of our actions is based on three principles: compliance with current laws and regulations, transparency, and relations with legislatures.
Our lobbying activities may be led by members of Pernod Ricard’s Government Affairs team and/or any other authorised employee, trade organisations of which the Group is a member or, in exceptional cases, outside consultants.
Our Government Affairs staff is structured in such a way to that it can monitor that Pernod Ricard’s lobbying efforts are consistent with its CSR commitments.
The Group’s Vice President Government Affairs and S&R defines and oversees the deployment of our lobbying policy. Pernod Ricard’s Chairman and CEO is informed of the principal lobbying initiatives undertaken by the Group’s various Government Affairs departments.
In France and Europe, the Group’s lobbying expenses are posted on the websites of the political institutions that log such information. For the 2015-2016 fiscal year, those expenses stood at approximately €1 million. In France, through our membership in Transparency International – France, we are a signatory to a best practices guide for the reporting of parliamentary lobbying expenditures. And of course, we comply with all precepts to which we have formally subscribed.
In addition to complying with prevailing local laws, members of the Government Affairs staff are bound by professional rules and standards, such as the ethical charter of the "Association Professionnelle des Responsables des Relations avec les Pouvoirs Publics" in France, the code of conduct of the Society of European Affairs Professionals, and institutional codes such as the Code of Conduct of the EU Transparency Register.
Each year we conduct a Government Affairs seminar to demonstrate the integrity of our lobbying practices to our workforce. We have also instituted training in lobbying practices, including a module devoted to ethics in lobbying, designed in cooperation with Transparency International.
Our primary positions
The Group has addressed issues relating to trade, alcohol and health, tax matters and communications.
In general, however, Pernod Ricard has not taken any specific positions other than those formally adopted and communicated by the trade associations to which we belong.
Pernod Ricard promotes free and fair access to all markets and encourages the adoption of reasonable policies.
Pernod Ricard believes that:
- the rules promulgated by the World Trade Organization (WTO) represent important guidelines for free, non-discriminatory trade practices;
- the wine and spirits sector should be appropriately regulated, with clearly defined product categories that honour the specific nature of each product’s origin;
- the wine and spirits sector contributes significantly to the world economy through direct and indirect employment, taxes and duties paid and market outlets for suppliers of raw materials.
Pernod Ricard respects the right of every adult to choose whether to consume alcoholic beverages.
The Group supports the global strategy of the World Trade Organization to reduce the harmful use of alcohol. We are committed to working with local, national and international stakeholders in an effort to combat alcohol abuse.
Pernod Ricard believes that:
- governments, producers and other stakeholders should work together to reduce the harmful use of alcohol, and particularly illegal and/or contraband alcohol. The latter represents a significant share of all alcohol consumed worldwide, especially in low- and middle-income countries;
- the wine and spirits sector has a role to play in reducing alcohol-related harm, and Pernod Ricard wishes to be actively involved in that endavour;
- patterns of alcohol consumption are markedly influenced by cultural and religious factors;
- the efficacy of initiatives to reduce the harmful use of alcohol needs to be scientifically evaluated;
- any attempt to address high-risk consumers or behaviours must take cultural differences into account.
Most governments use customs duties, excise tax and VAT to generate revenue. They believe that tax and/or pricing policies for alcohol products can play an instrumental role in public health, with the potential to influence consumption and reduce the harm associated with excess use of alcohol.
Contrary to popular belief, there is no established link between heavy taxation, high prices for consumers and alcohol consumption in general, let alone excessive or high-risk consumption.
Pernod Ricard believes that:
- any duties or taxes that governments may choose to impose should be reasonable and equitably applied to beer, wine and spirits;
- tax on alcohol should not penalise imported products, notably spirits, nor should it be based on the nature of the product. Tax provisions should not run counter to the rules established by the World Trade Organization (WTO);
- where there is proven substitutability between categories, Pernod Ricard supports a policy of non-discrimination;
- a heavy tax on alcohol products promotes wider sales of contraband alcohol, with its substantial health risks.
For additional information, please find here the tax statement of the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking, explaining further how certain tax policies can impact (or not) drinking patterns.
Pernod Ricard asserts its right to communicate freely and conduct advertising in accordance with its professional ethical commitments and applicable laws and regulations.
Pernod Ricard believes that:
- effective marketing is impossible without due respect for consumers and the community at large;
- it is vital to uphold high standards of self-regulation with regard to its marketing activities around the world;
- those standards of self-regulation are global in scope, and apply to every Group brand worldwide, including countries with a weak or non-existent regulatory environment;
- Pernod Ricard’s service providers must pledge to abide by its standards;
- when the Group’s marketing activities appear to conflict with its commitments, the objections lodged by consumers or other stakeholders must be addressed;
- consumers need to be properly informed about the products they consume, so they can enjoy those products knowledgeably.
Established in 2007 for the benefit of our marketing staff, the Code for Commercial Communications is intended to provide strict rules governing ethics and communications.
The Code’s provisions apply to all of its advertising and marketing activities worldwide, in accordance with relevant national laws or codes.
The purpose of this Code is to ensure that the Group’s commercial communications neither encourage nor condone irresponsible consumption or misuse of any kind.
The purpose of the Code of Business Conduct is to set out in one document the principal standards that Pernod Ricard employees are expected to follow in eight key areas:
• Anti-money laundering
• Conflicts of interest
• Insider dealing
• Data protection
• Digital and social media use
• Brand security
Complying with the law and the Code of Business is not just about avoiding problems and looking good. It is about being a constructive participant in the communities in which we do business. It’s about promoting a level playing field and making sure we do all we can to earn and keep the confidence of our clients, business partners, shareholders and other stakeholders. This confidence forms the bedrock of our reputation and is a key driver of our success.