Sustainable Procurement – a case study in marketing services procurement from Pernod Ricard

In part 1 of our feature on Pernod Ricard (here) and their approach to buying branded marketing items, we covered their overall strategy and their use of the ProProcure platform to drive collaborative buying across the global businesses, with benefits in value and compliance.

Nicolas Meauzé who runs that spend category from a procurement perspective is also responsible for CSR (corporate social responsibility) across the whole of Pernod  Ricard procurement, and he is obviously passionate about the topic. It’s an aspect that hadn’t really occurred to me in the marketing spend category but he quickly persuaded me that there are plenty of interesting issues!   Here’s more from our interview.

You stressed the CSR aspects of what you’re doing with the eMarket platform as well as the procurement savings  and brand compliance aspects. Can you expand on that ?

“This market – for branded marketing collateral items – is very fragmented and has some difficult issues.  Firms often buy from traders who source from the factories where items are made and often the end buyers  do not know where the goods are actually produced”.

“So they also cannot know what conditions the workers in those factories are experiencing, for garments perhaps. We have focused on using fewer approved suppliers for our items through the platform, so that helps us to understand those firms and make sure they apply the right responsible standards”.

Are there other aspects where CSR comes into play in the marketing collateral spend area?

“There’s also the aspect of wastage which has an environmental aspect of course.  Again, in this area, it is not unknown for  marketing managers – in any firm I mean -  to buy thousands of items for a promotion. Then they find they cannot be used in some countries, or they do not meet local demand,  and they can end up being thrown away.  The approach we have taken means we are managing stock better – we only buy when there is a real demand from our markets”.

Meauzé also is passionate about the ever increasing level of technology that is included in marketing and brand “give-aways”.

“I’m seeing products like greetings cards used for promotional purposes but the gimmick is they play music or have an LED display when you open them – very clever, but they use batteries, chips, electrical items - quite complex technology - but you know they will be thrown away very quickly. It’s irresponsible from a sustainability point of view, so as buyers we have to show this is not the sort of product we want”.

There’s a lot more on the Pernod Ricard website about CSR – with some impressive work in areas such as packaging, for instance:

“Providing eco-design training for teams concerned, in particular procurement and marketing. Establishing a “Closer to the customer” indicator for Ricard’s procurement to optimise sourcing of packaging according to actual needs...”

Certainly, if Meauzé is typical, this is something the firm really cares about.  Actually, meeting people like him, with a drive to improve his own organisation’s procurement performance and achieve  something of wider benefit, is one of the best things about this job!

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