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db Green Awards 2013 winners announced

Spain’s Miguel Torres and California’s Jackson Family Wines were triumphant at the Green Awards ceremony in London.

Green awards logo 2012Organised and conducted by the drinks business, this year’s Green Awards were announced yesterday at The Ivy restaurant during a drinks event for winners, leading industry figures and press.

Among the awards presented were Green Company of the Year to Jackson Family Wines and Best Green Launch to Miguel Torres for Habitat wine.

In particular, California featured prominently, picking up awards for its generic sustainability initiatives as well as its leading companies Jackson Family Wines and Gallo.

However, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain and Portugal were also recognised for their environmental initiatives in this year’s awards.

Overall, it was apparent from both the quantity and quality of entries this year – the fourth year that db has held the Green Awards – that the green agenda plays both a widespread and important role in the wine industry of 2013.

With so many entries demonstrating such a thorough, often imaginative commitment to sustainability, in some categories the judges faced a tough challenge in reaching a shortlist, never mind an eventual winner.

One thing is clear: commendable initiatives such as lightweighting and recycling are no longer enough to make you stand out from the crowd.

Today’s leaders in sustainability are restlessly pursuing measurable improvement every year, pioneering new techniques and achieving an impact that reaches far beyond their own direct business interests to improve the wider community and environment.

What’s more, they are communicating the effect of these efforts in a bid to inspire consumers and competitors alike to embrace the sustainable ethos.

Over the following pages are the winners of this year’s Green Awards by the drinks business.

The drinks business is extremely grateful to its sponsors of The Green Awards 2013: Ty Nant water, Fairhills Wine, and Amorim cork closures. It is also grateful to Amorim for providing cork frames for the awards certificates.

ty_nant_600 Green_2012_Sponsor_Amorim Award Sponsor

Green Company of the Year

Winner: Jackson Family Wines

JFW LogoWith so many entries for this category, a longstanding track record of environmentally friendly business practices was not enough. Each shortlisted company not only demonstrated significant improvements and fresh ideas over the past year, but also a clear vision for the future.

Among these impressive candidates, Kendall Jackson owners Jackson Family Wines stood out for its detailed, attractive presentation that conveyed a very serious, far reaching commitment to green issues.

From pioneering hi-tech energy management systems to implementing simple ideas such as nesting boxes, Jackson demonstrated all the investment clout of a large company combined with the inventive enthusiasm usually associated with smaller operations.

While hundreds of employees are actively involved in making a difference via a variety of smaller scale schemes, Jackson’s extensive research and development investments, such as its recent $3.5 million contribution to the new Sustainable Winery Technology Center at UC Davis demonstrate a commitment to making a difference well outside the confines of its own business.

Runner up: Miguel Torres (Spain)

Torres impressed the judges for its clear-sighted focus on how to build upon its significant sustainability achievements so far. In addition to developing its own fresh schemes, this is a company showing genuine leadership on green issues, both within the wine community and beyond.

Shortlist:

Yealands Estate Winery

Villa Maria Estate

Jackson Family Wines

Bodega Matarromera

Miguel Torres (Spain)

Ethical Company of the Year

Winner: Stellar Winery

Stellar-OrganicsThis award recognises leading proponents for this key pillar of any sustainable wine business. Shortlisted candidates demonstrated a clear understanding and embrace of how their company can improve the lives of its surrounding community.

In Stellar the judges wished to acknowledge a South African venture that may not be as large as its competitors, but whose foundations are clearly rooted in the ethical treatment and empowerment of its local community.

Employees hold a significant share in this Fair For Life-accredited company and, having set up the Stellar Foundation at the end of 2011, last year saw the implementation of a number of initiatives that have seen far-reaching benefits to the neighbourhood.

Among the most significant is a meal and activity programme for children, which has seen police reporting a dramatic fall in crime. Other facilities include wages well above the legal minimum, a Primary Health Care scheme for all 300 workers, commitment to ongoing employee training, a community football pitch and a bus transport service.

Even the smallest schemes such as an organic vegetable garden and sun hats for workers indicate a business that is fully engaged in the process of resolving the unique challenges faced by South African employers.

Shortlist:

Stellar Winery

Viña Santa Rita

VSPT Wine Group

Logistics & Supply Chain Green Initiative of the Year:

Winner: DHL/JD Wetherspoon

JD-Wetherspoon-lohoAs a link with one of the biggest potential impacts on the wine industry’s environmental footprint, the logistics sector is under particular pressure to find ways of reducing its emissions without compromising on cost or efficiency.

While many companies are to be commended for the steps they have taken in the last year, the judges were particularly inspired by DHL’s joint 2012 project with UK pub chain JD Wetherspoon.

DHLIn addition to technical solutions and staff training aimed at raising awareness of energy saving measures, the two firms have established a “Go WEST” team, enabling employees to get behind wider initiatives such as Climate Week, World Environment Day and environmental charities.

With promising reductions achieved within the first year of this scheme, it offers a model for others that the green challenge can sometimes be tackled more effectively as part of a team.

Shortlist:

Carbotek

DHL/ JD Wetherspoon

Viña Santa Rita

Kingsland Wines & Spirits

CoBevCo

Green Launch of the Year:

Winner: Habitat

habitat-torresWithin the growing ranks of green products, some launches demonstrate greater credibility than others. In this latest addition to its range, Torres has applied its impressive green commitment and knowhow to a wine that encapsulates this ethos in every way. From packaging components to organic viticulture, even Habitat’s name is a clear signal of its environmental message.

In addition to the external accreditation displayed on its label, Habitat takes that extra step towards engaging consumers thanks to a QR Code video link that highlights the connection between their purchase and the brand’s conservation mission. In a market that risks consumers becoming disillusioned by “green wash”, this effort to emphasise and clarify the impact of a green wine choice marks an important, commendable step.

Runner up: Vodka One

Vodka One caught the judges’ attention for its vodka-on-tap, a commercially savvy, environmentally friendly initiative that offers potential to revolutionise the way spirits are served, not just in pubs but also at large event venues. 

Shortlist:

Jean Leon (Miguel Torres)

Hardy Cognac

Vodka One

Habitat (Miguel Torres)

Sustainability Award of the Year:

Winner: Esporão

Esporao logoDespite the raft of mighty drinks companies in the lengthy shortlist for db’s Sustainability Award, it was the relatively unknown Portuguese wine and olive oil producer Esporão that convinced the judges it should be winner.

Praised for its holistic approach, range of current and ongoing projects and the quality of its awards submission, it was felt that Esporão was truly sustainable in all aspects of its operations, from waste management to agricultural practices.

Among its many sustainable measures the producer has preserved almost 200 endemic Portuguese grape varieties in an ampelographic vineyard; created wildlife corridors; ceased using pesticides and fungicides; managed its forested areas for increased biodiversity; employed biodegradable materials in its buildings, as well as offered education for its employees such as free English classes.

It has even addressed economic sustainability with the adoption of an ethical business code promoted by the Christian Association of Entrepreneurs (ACEGE).

Esporão is the second largest privately held wine company in Portugal and was founded in 1973 in the Alentejo by José Roquette and is currently headed by his son, João Roquette, who is the youngest of six children and is renowned for his forward thinking approach.

Runner-up: Gemtree Vineyards

A very strong entry which impressed judges for the wide range of non-financially motivated green initiatives from biodynamic viticulture to a wetlands ecotrail, established in partnership with Green Australia.

Commendation: Carlsberg

It was felt Carlsberg should be commended for its dedication to reducing its carbon footprint in the brewing sector driven by employee Matt Winterburn’s passion for sustainable business practices.

Shortlist:

Esporão
Avondale
De Bortoli Wines
Yealands Estate Wines
Gemtree Vineyards
La Motte
Carlsberg UK
Villa Maria Estate
Jackson Family International

Sustainability Award of the Year (Generic organisation):

Winner: California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance

cswa logo r2_dir1Considering the difficulty of encouraging growers to sign up to certification schemes – especially those requiring self-assessment – the judges were wowed by the achievements of the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance.

In the organization’s 2012 report it was shown that 72% of California’s some 200,000 hectares of vineyard and 74% of its case production were now signed up to its sustainability code.

The judges were also impressed at the constant process of review and improvement by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, as well as the transparency of its reporting.

The techniques employed were also deemed innovative, with an online tool for growers and vintners to measure and track their sustainability performance over time. Also impressive are educational initiatives by the alliance, which has held over 230 workshops on sustainable practices attended by almost 11,000 growers and winemakers. Of the group’s more recent developments, the judges were impressed by an online video series based around case studies of energy efficiency and other sustainable practices, encouraging Californian operations to learn from their peers.

Runner-up: New Zealand Winegrowers

On a smaller scale than California but also highly impressive is the New Zealand Winegrowers sustainability policy, which has now incorporated 95% of the country’s producing area, and encompasses seven key areas, including biodiversity and water management.

Commendation: WOSA for Cape Wine 2012

The judges felt that Wines of South Africa deserved commending for its sustainable management of its biennual trade show Cape Wine, which was designed to have as little impact on the environment as possible and encourage carbon offsetting for delegates.

Shortlist:

Wines of South Africa

California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance

New Zealand Winegrowers

Vinos de Chile

Environmental Award of the Year, sponsored by Amorim:

Winner: Torres

Torres-logoThe Amorim Environmental Award was instigated to reward a company or campaign which demonstrates that consideration for the environment is integral to the company ethos. And if there’s one business for which this the case, whatever aspect of the operation is scrutinized, it’s certainly Torres.

The family-owned company has over 600 hectares of organically-certified vineyard – its other 1,600 ha is in conversion “bit by bit” – and “completely avoids” the use of chemical treatments. Back in 2007 Torres invested €10 million in Torres & Earth to further sustainability within the business and for the future has pledged to reduce C02 emissions by 30% per bottle by 2020.

In terms of production it has reduced gas consumption by 85% with the installation of Spain’s biggest biomas boiler while company president Miguel Torres has been active in promoting sustainable practices in the wine industry worldwide.

Green_2012_Sponsor_AmorimIndeed, Torres was the main sponsor of the EcoSostenibleWine conference in 2012, which called for a new category of Ecological-Sustainable wines. Expressing his belief in sustainable approaches, Torres says, “We live from the earth and we are a family-owned company so this combination leads us to care for our land and resources – not just for this generation but also for future generations.”

Runner-up: Jackson Family Wines

A close contender for winning this award was Jackson Family Wines which has employed sustainable practices on a huge scale within its own operations while furthering the development of waste-saving technology for California as a whole throught is support of UC Davis environmental research.

Commendation: Jascots Wine Merchants

Rightly commended by the judges, Jascots Wine Merchants has since 2010 employed sustainable practices, working with the Carbon Trust to reduce its CO2 emissions and increase recycling both within its own business but also among its customers with a complimentary collection of client’s waste bottles and boxes.

Commendation: The Barefoot Wine Beach Rescue Project

A further commendation was requested by the judges for the Barefoot Beach Rescue Project for its fun and effective approach to rubbish clearance, which saw 3.8 tonnes of litter removed across 14 of Britain’s beaches. It has also supported Surfers Against Sewage for the last five years.

Shortlist:

Jascots Wine Merchants
Neethlingshof Wine Estate
Jackson Family Wines
Miguel Torres Spain
The Barefoot Wine Beach Rescue Project

Green Personality Award

Winner: Carlo de Biasi, chief agronomist, Casa Vinicola Zonin

carlo de biasiParticularly hard-fought this year was the personality award. After much discussion however it was Zonin’s chief agronomist Carlo de Biasi who swayed the judges for his commitment to furthering green practices both within his company and outside it, and, in particular, his range of initiatives during the last 12 months.

During the course of 2012, he has taken his belief in organic viticulture and sustainable practices to all Zonin’s estates in Italy. This has encompassed research into disease-resistant varieties for use in marginal vineyard sites. Beyond his work at Zonin however he has devoted his free time to managing a new handbook of sustainability for wineries in partnership with TERGEO, a project initiated by Unione Italiana Vini. He is also working for the same organisation on the National Action Plan for the Sustainable Use of Plant Protection Products. Outside Italy he is also a member of the Paris-based Lien de la Vigne, founded in 1992 to bring together representatives from wine-producing countries to address technical issues, particularly sustainability in viticulture and winemaking. He was also one of the key speakers at November’s wine marketing seminar on sustainability in San Michele all’ Adige. As one of the judges summarised, “What he is doing at Zonin is highly impressive but he is also furthering environmental causes in the wider industy.”

Runner-up: Jonathan Grieve, Avondale Wine

Hugely influential biodynamic advocate in South Africa Jonathan Grieve impressed the judges for his attempts to minimise the impact of his business on the environment and also educate others in sustainable viticulture and eco-conscious living.

Shortlist:

Melissa Brown – Gemtree Vineyards

Jonathan Grieve – Avondale Wine

Carlo de Biasi – Casa Vinicola Zonin

Matt Winterburn – Carlsberg UK

Ethical Person of the Year, sponsored by Fairhills

Andy Phelps, BWS manager, Sainsbury’s

Andy PhelpsDescribed as “truly committed to Fairtrade”, Andy Phelps, beers, wines and spirits manager at Sainsbury’s, has had a huge impact on ethically sourced drinks at the retailer and is currently converting all the supermarket’s Taste the Difference South African wines to Fairtrade. Such a move is part of a wider Sainsbury’s initiative called the 20 by 20 Sustainability Plan to reach sales of £1 billion fairly-traded products. Already, 22% of all UK Fairtrade sales are through Sainsbury’s making it the world’s largest Fairtrade retailer.

Award Sponsor

According ot Harriett Lamb, executive director at The Fairtrade Foundation, “Sainsbury’s level of ambition to play their part in tackling poverty will set the pace – enabling the public to make Fairtrade an integral part of people’s everyday shopping, opening more doors for more farmers and workers.”

Lifetime Achievement Award

Su Birch, CEO Wines of South Africa

WOSA CEO Su Birch
WOSA CEO Su Birch

An inspiration to wine producers, this year’s Lifetime Achievment Award goes to a person who’s impact on people’s business practices stretches well beyond their immediate environment.

For almost 10 years an environmentally-aware agenda has been at the heart of Su Birch’s approach in her role at the helm of generic organization Wines of South Africa.

As part of this, she has moved the South African wine industry to ensure it has become a world leader in production integrity.

In particular, she has put her association’s full weight behind the Biodiversity and Wine initiative, recognized today as one of the most successful conservation and business partnerships in the world, with over 130,000 hectares of land now protected.

The recipient has also been responsible for the development of the Wine of Origin sustainability seal and driver of Cape Wine 2012, the world’s first green wine show. She is also on the committee of Sustainable Wine South Africa to ensure standards are maintained and a green agenda remains at the heart of the Cape’s wine industry in the future.

Su Birch is undoubtedly a very worth winner of this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

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