IWCA – International Wineries for Climate Action
Wine is one of the most valuable agricultural products in the world. Now we’re witnessing the catastrophic effects of the global climate emergency. The world’s vineyards are vulnerable to an increasing amount of extreme weather events; from storms, floods, heat, fire and drought. Some marginal winegrowing regions in the world have arguably benefited thus far. However, it’s beyond doubt that the climate emergency puts the entire wine industry at risk. Hence the IWCA was founded in February 2019 to focus on a science-based approach to reducing carbon emissions across the wine industry.
The Co-founders of the IWCA were Familia Torres in Spain and Jackson Family Wines in California, both of whom have large wineries and vineyards around the world, and longstanding environmental credentials.
Indeed, Torres has just been voted to third place in “The world’s most admired wine brands 2020” (and also the most admired in Europe), while Kendall-Jackson in Sonoma is hardly a slouch at number 36 on that same list.
In January 2020, four more wine groups joined in, namely:
Symington Family Estates in Portugal. Their Port empire includes Dow’s, Graham’s, Warre’s and Cockburn’s. 7th in the wine brands list 2020;
Yealands Wine Group in New Zealand;
Spottswoode in Napa, California;
VSPT Wine Group in Chile, with six Chilean and two Argentinian wineries.
These influential businesses have the critical mass needed to make a significant and rapid impact! Each member within IWCA takes responsibility to hold themselves and each other accountable to build a cleaner, more resilient wine community for future generations. There’s naturally a commitment to raising awareness too. By collaboration, there’s the power to achieve change via thought-leadership and sharing best practice.
To be full IWCA members, participating wineries must meet the following requirements within five years of joining:
- Use at least 20% power from onsite renewable energy;
- Undertake a compulsory third-party audit of greenhouse gas emissions each year. What’s especially useful is that this covers direct emissions and supply-chain generated emissions;
- Demonstrate a minimum 25% reduction in CO2 emissions per unit of wine produced;
- Commit to reducing total emissions: 50% by 2030 and 80% by 2045.
It’s ambitious, but these objectives are, in my best business strategy parlance, SMART. In other words, they are Specific, Measurable, Available, Relevant and Time-bound.
Producing world-class wines must not be at the expense of the environment. I look forward to seeing some more influential wineries joining up, especially from regions not yet represented. There are already many vital individual winery initiatives that deserve accolades. However, while Small is Beautiful, as more wineries join IWCA, so the louder the voice and the more the possible change.
”You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete” – Buckminster Fuller.
Meanwhile, anyone that supports the values of the IWCA can join in too, as a Friend of IWCA. My application is already in!
The photograph is an aerial before-and-after comparison, courtesy of Nearmap. It shows vineyards devastated by bushfires at Lenswood, in the Adelaide Hills, South Australia.