This week we announced our sustainability pledge to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2035.
It’s a big goal. Even the shorter-term goal of halving our carbon footprint by 2030 is huge. So we want to explain why this is so important to us.
Few can explain it better than Henry Laithwaite. Our Co-Chairman is also a winemaker, so he’s seen the impact climate change has up close.
“We’re alarmed by what we’re seeing via our network of 427 mostly family wineries around the world,” Henry says.
“Climate change is impacting not just the quality of the wine we can make. Without urgent action it will threaten the viability of whole communities that rely on vineyards and cellars for their livelihoods.”
We take climate change seriously
We’ve already worked hard to improve our sustainability credentials in recent years. From eliminating all landfill at our Gloucester Distribution Centre, to investing in forestry programmes to offset the emissions from home deliveries.
Transporting and making glass bottles uses a lot of energy so we’ve tested alternatives to this and introduced our wine in cans range.
We understand the need for a fundamental and urgent change in sustainability thinking, so we commissioned an audit by Eco Act, a company specialising in sustainability. It found that 95% of the emissions footprint, from grape to glass, was in the supply chain rather than directly in our control. Agricultural and winemaking practices, glass bottles, electricity usage, packaging and shipping were identified as key contributors.
“The easier path would be to offset the 5% for which we’re directly responsible and declare the job done,” Henry said. “But we take climate change incredibly seriously so are determined to lead the industry by tackling the problem from grape to glass. Longstanding relationships with our network of winemakers around the world give us the perfect platform to start this deeper work.”
The price of doing nothing
To start we’re going to increase the amount of wine we bottle here in the UK as well as overhaul the weight of bottles. We’re already encouraging customers to buy wine in different formats. Cans are easier to transport and recycle, and they keep wine super fresh.
In the near future we’ll also be converting to green energy then, if necessary, owned renewables.
Our CEO David Gates added: “We hope to help lead the way for our industry.
“The targets are ambitious, make no mistake, and we’ve still plenty to learn, but the price of doing nothing is far scarier.”