Even though end consumers do not yet put a high premium on sustainability as an attribute of the wine they purchase at the local store, sustainability increasingly features higher on the retailers’ agenda across the globe. Larger retailers, such as Wal-Mart and Tesco, are pioneering new sustainability standards and are leading the way to greener pastures. For example, on February 25th 2010 Wal-Mart announced publicly its goal to eliminate 20 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions from its global supply chain by the end of 2015. Mike Duke, Wal-Mart president and CEO, explained the move in the following terms:
“Energy efficiency and carbon reduction are central issues in the world today. We’ve been working to make a difference in these areas, both in our own footprint and our supply chain. We know that we have an opportunity to do more and the capacity to do more.”
German wineries are becoming more active on sustainability. One of the first German wineries that started to report on sustainability is Grünewald & Schnell from the area of Worms in the west of Germany. This family business switched to eco-production of wines that includes the entire supply chain. Soil erosion is reduced through extra foliage, green energy is used at the wine farm, the winery initiated light packaging and the wooden boxes that are used at the winery are made by people with a disability.
Also in other wine countries, several new sustainable initiatives in the wine industry are emerging such as the declaration ‘Wineries for climate protection’ in Spain. Therefore, the PROBE Network LLP developed a benchmark that measures sustainability at international wineries. PROBE stands for PRomoting Business Excellence and by using benchmarking and assessment tools, Business Excellence is promoted and supported. With the help of The Natural Step, the PROBE Network will use the benchmarking tools with the international wineries. The Natural Step is an international organization that applies a framework for sustainability. Companies that have applied the Natural Step framework are for example IKEA and Nike. Participating countries in the benchmark are Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Argentina, Chile and South Africa.
The objective is to include a minimum of 15 wineries per country in the benchmark. Benchmarking leads to several benefits for the wine producers such as average estimated operational cost savings of $30.000 a year, a broader application of sustainability in the organization and new business opportunities to improve the reputation.
The benchmark includes peer learning from frontrunners in sustainable wine producing and gives concrete directions to improve. For more information on the wine benchmark or on the case study on sustainability at the famous Spanish Torres wines, please contact Jan van der Kaaij, managing partner, at email@example.com or call +31(0)76 522 28 17.