Navigating Government, Opinion Leaders, and Policy Makers: In Conversation with Cécile Duprez-Naudy

Cécile Duprez-Naudy is the Director of Global Public Affairs at Moët Hennessy. She is a government affairs, public affairs and regulatory affairs professional, with 25 years of experience at the global, European and French levels. She specializes in stakeholder engagement, public policy, regulatory and issue management. 

Her preferred areas of work include food, wines and spirits, health, agriculture, viticulture, sustainability and responsible marketing.  She spoke to ARENI about the role of public affairs in the wine sector.

There are no audio files available for this conversation. The below is the transcript of an interview that took place on March 2nd, 2023. It has been lightly edited for clarity.


How does one find herself in your position? What’s your background?

Cécile Duprez-Naudy

Well, I guess I’ve always had an interest in public policy and politics from a relatively young age and I studied political science. I started my career in Brussels, where I was working in a public affairs consultancy, so, you see, it dates way back. 

I’ve been in public affairs for the past 20-plus years. For ten years in Brussels, I was living in the so-called ‘Brussels bubble’, as it is called by people working in and around the EU Institutions, working on all kind of dossiers for a variety of clients. It was very formative. I’ve worked on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform, on sugar reform, on dairy quotas, on the so-called ‘Bolkestein directive’, on sustainability, pet food, trade and so on and so forth. This environment, which is made of EU institutions, lobbies, think tanks  is a very interesting microcosm.

Then I moved to Switzerland, to work for Nestlé in the global public affairs team, where I was first in charge of supporting European Affairs. And then I took on a role in the area of nutrition and health: I was in charge of our commitments related to the children’s portfolio such as reformulation and innovation or responsible marketing. I also developed children nutrition programmes based on multi-stakeholder partnerships in all countries where Nestlé operated. In my last position at Nestlé, I was in charge of global advocacy in the Public Affairs team.

Then I moved back to France, to Lille – primarily for family reasons – where I still live with my husband and three children, and I took a role as head of Regulatory EMEA at Roquette. There I learned about the technicalities of food production and the complexities of B2B.  It was very interesting, because I was not only of the food sector, but also pharma and cosmetics, which broadened my horizon.

I joined Moët Hennessy, the wine and spirits division of LVMH, two years ago as the head of Director of Global Public Affairs.


What is public affairs? And what are the differences between “public affairs”, “lobbying” and “advocacy”?

Cécile Duprez-Naudy

There’s a broad range of vocabulary encompassing those functions that help companies navigate the intersection of governments, opinion leaders and policy makers. We call it public affairs at Moët Hennessy. In other companies it could sometimes be ‘corporate affairs’ or ‘government affairs’.

The basis of our work is stakeholder engagement. It’s getting to know the stakeholders that have an influence on your commercial environment and that have a stake and an interest in what you do as a business. So, it’s building those relationships, understanding what their issues and objectives are, and being able to listen and explain what your company does, how it does it, and what it is we need as a company to operate. 

The basis of our work is stakeholder engagement. It’s getting to know the stakeholders that have an influence on your commercial environment and that have a stake and an interest in what you do as a business.

Cécile Duprez-Naudy, Director of Global Public Affairs, Moët Hennessy

Equally, our role is also internal: Public Affairs explain internally what’s changing, how it’s changing and how the company needs to adapt.

Advocacy goes beyond the mere interests of the company: it is the ability to embrace a cause and be a voice for change.  For example, « Soil health » is a key advocacy topic for Moët Hennessy. It does not mean that what we do is perfect but it means that we recognize there is an issue with soil health, that progress needs to accelerate, and aim to raise this issue on the political agenda. This is the reason we are supporting the future European Soil Health Law. And we contribute to the discussions by convening experts  notably through the World Living Soil Forum.

The objective of lobbying is very specific: it is to change a legislation. So you may lobby to defend legitimate interests, to enlighten the decision makers and make sure that the lawmakers have all the information they need to build laws that are ensuring that our sector can still thrive. 

So in summary, not all lobbying is advocacy but lobbying can be an instrument to support advocacy.


How much of your work is for the greater good of our eco-system and how much of your work is for Moët Hennessy?  

Cécile Duprez-Naudy

Most of the engagement, advocacy and lobbying efforts are very much a collective effort in our sector. And this is really something that is very important. Moët Hennessy is a member of many trade associations at the international level, at the regional level. And at every step you would find the operators of this industry working together towards common goals. We do not always agree, but we aim for consensus.

It’s actually very rare that companies like ours would go on their own path, totally separately. The actions we take are very much aligned and integrated within that collective effort, even though there may be specific areas where we as Moët Hennessy would engage directly with policy makers. 


Are there lots of you in the world of wine? Is it just something for big companies to have, or do you have a lot of counterparts in other companies in France and in Europe? 

Cécile Duprez-Naudy

The structuring of the system allows for wide representation. So companies, big and small, are represented by those trade associations that have a very professional staff. They know the political and legislative environment inside out. They have been around, engaging with policy makers for many years.

In addition, larger companies may have a public affairs team of a different size. And I think it’s only fair also that the bigger members of trade associations contribute more, not only in terms of resources, but also in teams. 

A lot of the work is actually done in the committees of the trade associations where you build the common positions, you bring the expertise, and obviously being able to contribute to that work is really important. 


And so, we understand very quickly that public affairs is linked to a regulatory environment and where decisions are taken. So, it’s also geographically designed, like you would have someone in Europe and I suppose you would have someone in the US. But is there also a cultural difference in the way we think about the whole notion of influence? How would your job be different if you were in the US? 

Cécile Duprez-Naudy

The skills and ways of engaging are different and are very country specific. Regulations are local.

But the EU level matters and it directly influence the national level. The way Brussels works is really based on processes. And if you think about it, a directive would typically take two or three years to be completed, and it starts with a European Commission proposal and goes through a complex process, with the European Parliament and the Council.  The European Commission is open to stakeholders: they conduct impact assessments and consult along the way. What’s really important in that process is to be a very solid contributor, to be there during the entire process, to be able to bring relevant data. 

I’m not a specialist on how lobbying is done in Washington, but what I understand from my colleagues is that although we have the same types of organization with trade associations representing us, the way lobbying is done in the US is somewhat different. It’s about supporting or killing bills on the floor. It’s about managing the political differences. So, you would aim at bipartisan initiatives, for example, And people are identified as either Democrats or Republicans, which is something that we don’t have in Brussels at all, where the work is much more technical. 

And if you look at Asia, it’s a different animal altogether. The political aspect of course is vastly different, but that’s due to the political systems and cultures.


You’ve been talking a lot about Brussels. Is it mostly the level that we need to be interested in when it comes to wine and policy — is everything decided in Brussels? Or do we also need to look at what’s happening at the national and the regional level as well? 

Cécile Duprez-Naudy

I think all levels matter. A lot of legislation comes from the European level, for sure. If I take the example of the Green Deal, which is a game changer really, it’s going to massively affect how environmental policy is done across the EU member states. 

Let’s not forget, of course, that the decisions in Brussels are signed off by the Council, which are the member states, so they are an integral part of the decision-making process in Europe. The national level is important; in France, a lot of initiatives are coming out of the National Assembly, and the local level is key because of regional political engagement and community engagement, especially in the regions where we produce, Champagne, Cognac, Provence. 


It was just announced that Volnay, a village in Burgundy, decided to ban herbicides for Premier Cru production. So it doesn’t have to come from Brussels for it to have a huge impact on the way you work. 

One of the specificities in the world of wine is this extreme diversity and fragmentation as well. There are so many different actors, big and small. Is that a hindrance or help when it comes to advocacy and lobbying? 

Cécile Duprez-Naudy

I think the diversity of the sector is both a hindrance as you put it, and a strength. It is a strength because the ability to reach out to the very local level is very strong. Entire regions in Europe are actually thriving because people are staying on the land they cultivated and are the fabric of very vibrant communities. So the ability to represent that diversity and reach out to all levels of societies and wine producing regions is indeed a great strength.

Where it’s not a hindrance, but more of a difficulty, is the fragmentation. It takes more time to align on common strategies. Because you have so many operators. There are sectors where you have three or four big players and they’re able to act very quickly and they are able to roll out advocacy strategies very fast. That’s not the case in the wine sector where there is more fragmentation.


I’d like to go deep now into public policies and what are you working on at the moment, because sometimes it’s hard to visualize and to realize what public policies are and how they are impacting us big and small. 

Can you give us an example of what’s on your agenda at the moment?  

Cécile Duprez-Naudy

The main work areas for us in public affairs nowadays are: trade and market access, responsible drinking, agricultural and wine and spirit policies, environmental policies and living soils, which as you know, is an advocacy topic for us. 

The main work areas for us in public affairs nowadays are: trade and market access, responsible drinking, agricultural and wine and spirit policies, environmental policies and living soils.

Cécile Duprez-Naudy, Director of Global Public Affairs, Moët Hennessy

If we talk a little bit about trade and market access: we advocate the principle of open economies, free trade and zero tariffs on wines and spirits globally. MH exports to 160 countries and it’s really important that effective multilateral, regional, and bilateral trade agreements are in place. We also advocate for a predictable regulatory framework that considers the centuries of evolving oenological and distillation practices, and for regulatory convergence between the trade blocs. So, for example, if a certain regulation is in place in Europe, and there’s a vastly different one elsewhere, you would want the regulators to discuss with one another to make sure that trade is flowing between the countries.


And on what topics? For example, on the type of paperwork that you need? 

Cécile Duprez-Naudy

It can be anything from labelling to quality requirements. And that convergence is really important. And being able to refer to the work of the ​​OIV, for example, is a key element.

When it comes to trade there is also a dimension of illicit trade that must be combated, and consumers need to be made aware of the dangers of counterfeited products. 

Our second priority is around health. We promote moderate consumption of wine and spirits and responsible choices. We’re fully aware that our primary responsibility is to prevent risks associated with harmful alcohol consumption and Moët Hennessy supports the World Health Organization’s goal to reduce harmful drinking worldwide.


Alcohol and health is, of course, a huge topic; we’ve discussed it at ARENI before. There are two sectors that we look at when it comes to health and public policy: food and tobacco.

Can you tell us how these worlds differ when it comes to public policies and what works, what doesn’t work? Is it suitable to look at tobacco and learn from what happened there?  

Cécile Duprez-Naudy

That’s a very important and complex question. I’m not talking about tobacco which is a product that I don’t know very well. I think tobacco is a bit apart from food and alcohol, and the way tobacco is treated by policymakers and the health authorities is very specific.

Food and alcohol have this in common: when consumed in excess, they become risk factors for a certain number of diseases called non-communicable diseases (e.g. diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular diseases).

Because there are risk factors, public health authorities are looking at ways to make sure that unhealthy diets are not adopted, that people do not remain sedentary and that the consumption of alcohol doesn’t become harmful. There are international recommendations for food as well as drinking ​guidelines.

Certain populations ought to be protected from harmful consumption of alcohol and very clearly, minors shouldn’t be drinking, pregnant women neither, and drinking & driving is a source of accidents and deaths. Harmful alcohol consumption needs to be combated.

Now when it comes to consumption by adults that choose to drink, the best is to follow public health recommendations.

I think the experience I’ve had in food and what I see now in wine, spirits and beer is relatively similar. You know, basically industry is asked by policy makers and health authorities to commit and demonstrate progress on a number of issues.  

The first one is to make sure that there is no marketing to minors. We have strong laws, policies as well as self-regulation. The second one is that the consumer is fully informed through labeling. To support this, our sector has embarked on a major project to provide digital ​labeling to consumers in Europe.  For the wine sector, it’s actually part of the law. It’s embedded in the Common Agricultural Policy and the deadline for implementation is December 2023. 


We have just talked about alcohol and health. One of your four topics was also environmental policies and living soils. And I know that’s a big one for you. 

Cécile Duprez-Naudy

It is fundamental because wine and spirits are rooted in viticulture and agricultural systems and because soils are among the largest carbon sinks! Soil health needs to be improved globally and what it means is that we need to address critical monitoring policy incentives, public/private investments, and address barriers for adapting and scaling health and storage practices.

We advocate for governments to agree on indicators and really elevate soil health in their national policies so that soil is protected the same way air or water are protected. It would be great if soils were treated on the same footing and that, it is considered through the lens of “ the common good”, and it is looked at in the same way as the oceans and the air. 

We advocate for governments to agree on indicators and really elevate soil health in their national policies so that soil is protected the same way air or water are protected.

Cécile Duprez-Naudy, Director of Global Public Affairs, Moët Hennessy


You’ve mentioned agricultural policies and we know that the new CAP was launched on the 1st of January 2023. I’ve looked at it and it seems that there’s there are a lot of things around soils and objectives about  greener agriculture. Was that there before? Or are there major changes in that CAP that will go into the direction of better soils and better practices? 

Cécile Duprez-Naudy

I certainly hope so! the Common Agricultural Policy has been evolving significantly since its inception. As you know, it had been created after the war. It’s one of the biggest achievements of the European Union. And the first objective was, and still is, to feed Europeans. And it has evolved based on evolving societal norms. I remember 15, 20 years ago when the « greening of the CAP » started to introduce environmental measures in addition to productivity measures, this was a game changer. It continues to evolve.

Agricultural policies are the reflection of societal demands and of their evolution. And I think you can only go further when it comes to greening, but it still needs to stay true to its initial objective, which is to maintain a healthy, sustainable agricultural system in Europe. And by sustainable we mean the three dimensions: planet, people and profit. It’s only through those three conditions that the agricultural system is going to stay resilient and strong. 

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