HENNESSY BACKS FOREST REGENERATION AFTER PLANTING 2.2 MILLION TREES IN 2021
Cognac house Hennessy launched its Forest Destination regeneration programme on 21 March with the aim of reforesting local ecosystems in several countries as part of the LVMH-owned company’s plans to preserve and revive tree life on the planet.
The project comes on the back of the French brand helping to plant over 2.2 million trees spanning an area of 4,800 hectares through various reforestation and agro-forestry projects around the world.
The Forest Destination launch date coincided with the International Day of Forests, a United Nations initiative launched in 2020 with the aim to regenerating 50,000 hectares of forest by 2030. The goal of the 2022 event is to raise awareness of how sustainable production and consumption of forest resources can, in the UN’s words, “help to restore balance in how we use natural resources”. The global body added: “It is about increasing efficiency, reducing environmental degradation, and creating sustainable lifestyles for current and future generations.”
Hennessy takes a global view
With the new Forest Destination programme, Hennessy is pursuing on-the-ground projects in places where the house is present. Locations include China, France, the US, South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria.
The luxury brand has had a close relationship with forests since it was founded over 250 years ago. The quality of the oak for the casks in which eaux de vie is matured plays an essential role in the final quality of Hennessy Cognac that is sold to consumers. Beyond the production process, preserving forest ecosystems also helps with the fight against climate change.
Hennessy president, Laurent Boillot, commented: “Hennessy has always maintained a long-term vision. Today, the future of humankind depends on our ability to take up the daunting challenge of preserving and regenerating forest ecosystems. This task goes far beyond individual interests. With Forest Destination we want to act, by participating in a collective movement and contributing concretely to the common good.”
Home market action
In France, Hennessy is working with the Office National des Forêts (ONF) to replant just over 27,000 oak saplings across 25 hectares in Braconne in the Charente region, which was devastated by a storm in 1999.
Elsewhere, Hennessy began a partnership in 2020 with Reforest’Action, the crowd-planting B Corp-certified company, in local ecosystems in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria, as well projects in China and the United States.
In Kenya, Hennessy and its local partner Trees for Kenya are supporting the reforestation of part of protected areas on Mount Kenya by planting 250,000 trees of 30 different species over 400 hectares. In the United States, Hennessy has committed to replanting 100,000 trees across 93 hectares to promote the return of biodiversity and create new local wildlife habitats in the state of Oregon where forests have been ravaged by fires.
In Madagascar, Hennessy is working with local partners to build a ‘School of the Forest’ to train young farmers and heighten awareness among children. The house will support planting of 60,000 saplings of various species in a 40-hectare area.
Hennessy volumes back above 2019 levels
The Forest Destination programme comes on the back of a comment from the billionaire chairman and CEO of LVMH, Bernard Arnault, in a January results statement: “Our objective to strive for solid financial performance and our relentless quest for excellence remind us to act in such a way as to make the world a better place. The group and its brands carried out numerous actions in 2021 to promote biodiversity, protect nature and to preserve skills and craftsmanship, and we will continue to do so in the years to come.”
For LVMH, that solid performance led to a 44% year-on-year hike in revenue to €64.2 billion led by 46% growth in is biggest division of fashion and leather, and 167% from its smallest division of jewellery and watches. In wines and spirits, where Hennessy sits, growth was less sparking at 26% to reach nearly €6 billion in 2021.
The increase was led by “very strong demand” in the US, in Asia and a rebound in Europe. Hennessy managed to increase its volumes compared to 2019, despite supply constraints with China and the US experiencing some revival despite the pandemic.