Industry News

Moët Hennessy Brings Sustainability to Life with Living Soils

Moët Hennessy Living Soils, Living Together

Apr. 21, 2022

Great producers like our partners at Moët Hennessy create fine wines and spirits that are works of art, but even the most sublime among them would be nothing without the right kind of terroir. Call it soil, loam, or earth, it is the foundation for Moët Hennessy’s iconic luxury brands, and the luxury titan is pioneering bold new ways to protect this vital resource through their Living Soils initiative.

We are proud to be a part of their far-reaching, long-term efforts to promote sustainability through their industry leadership.

Growing a Better Tomorrow

Sandrine Sommer, Chief Sustainability Officer for Moët Hennessy, is a driving force behind the Living Soils program. As she recently explained, the program’s goals are four-fold: “Regenerating our soils, reducing our climate impact, continuing our commitment to society, and empowering our talents.”

Living up to these goals will require big steps and following a bold vision.

“To help regenerate our soils,” she said, “we continue to reduce treatments, carefully manage water supply and promote biodiversity everywhere.”

Reducing the company’s impact on climate change requires a holistic approach, which Sommer identified as “including eco-designing our packaging and marketing assets, opting for low-carbon transportation, decreasing energy consumption, and increasing the transparency and traceability of our activities.”

She added that engaging society means the company will continue to “build awareness around the importance of responsible drinking, guarantee business integrity, and support the growth of local communities.”

Lastly, she added that Moët Hennessy empowers their teams “by involving them in sustainability initiatives, and promoting diversity, equity and inclusion in a spirit of solidarity and in the interest of the common good.”

Planting the Seeds

Change like this doesn’t happen overnight. The groundwork for Living Soils goes back years, to early 2020, when CEO Philippe Schaus shared the company’s vision for the initiative at the Living Soils Forum.

The company promised to follow through on three major goals:

  • End the use of herbicide in Moët Hennessy's vineyards in the Champagne region of France
  • Invest €30m ($32.47m) in a Research Center in the Champagne Region devoted to scientific research around sustainable viticulture
  • Establish the "University of Living Soils" to encourage the sharing of knowledge and best practices toward sustainability in an inclusive way.

In the months and years since that announcement, Moët Hennessy has made great progress in meeting those goals, and expanding their impact on all areas of production. In December, the company announced a new goal to get environmental certification for all its suppliers by 2025, and to obtain regenerative agriculture certification by 2030, according to Sommer, in an interview with Reuters. She told Reuters that promoting sustainability “is a collective work,” and that while “we fixed these objectives… we can't do this alone.”

This year, Moët Hennessy is hosting the inaugural World Living Soils Forum (WLSF) from June 1 to 2, 2022, in Arles-en-Provence, where they will follow up on their ongoing work to promote sustainable agriculture. The forum is designed as an open tribune, according to the company, and will give a particular interest to the effective solutions applied in other countries, including other agricultural activities than viticulture.

In a recent statement, Schaus explained the necessity and scope of the forum. “We need to find new and ambitious concrete solutions to the challenges directly and indirectly linked to soil conservation and regeneration in viticulture,” he said, adding, “We want to make this forum a place of global exchange for the entire sector to act quickly and better while relying on a rigorous scientific framework.”

Change from the Ground Up

In addition to banning pesticides and herbicides, and breaking ground on the Robert-Jean de Vogüé Research Center in Épernay, France, Moët Hennessy is implementing grassroots (or rather, tree roots) efforts to promote soil health by planting trees to create ecological corridors across vineyards. They are also coordinating with glass makers to decrease carbon emissions by improving production processes and reducing the weight of bottles.

As Sommer explained recently, “we recognize our unique responsibility to our stakeholders and the planet,” and “our mission has always been to ensure that people and nature coexist harmoniously – getting the best from the earth and giving back to it.”

Moët Hennessy continues to push ahead, and in October of 2021 announced a pledge to reduce its carbon footprint by adopting the 1.5°C target of the 2015 Paris Agreement. Further, the company shared a 2030 goal of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 50%, as compared to 2019 levels.

“Today, Moët Hennessy is accelerating sustainable development initiatives,” Sommer said, “articulating our commitments, and setting objectives involving all our employees, distributors, partners, customers, and consumers worldwide. Our sustainability program, Living Soils Living Together, is a fantastic opportunity to innovate, so we can meet present and future challenges together, thereby having a lasting positive impact on our industry.”