Green Awards 2018: the winners revealed

We profile the most ethical and environmentally friendly drinks companies of 2018 as we reveal the winners of this year’s Green Awards by the drinks business.

Following an awards ceremony yesterday afternoon at The Ivy in London, we can now state that California is source of the most certified-sustainable wine of any region in the world; that Chile is a pioneer in the promotion of biodiversity in vineyards, and England is home to this year’s most environmentally-friendly wine business, while a distillery in Finland is 2018’s Green Company of the Year.

The results were announced to all shortlisted entrants in this year’s Green Awards, along with key players in the wine and spirits trade, and a collection of past winners in the awards, which have been held each year since 2010.

Speaking at the start of the event, I stressed the fact that these awards, despite their eight-year history, are still the only set of industry gongs dedicated exclusively to all that’s green and alcoholic.

While it’s a great position for us to be in, I am surprised there aren’t more organisations rewarding environmentally-sound drinks operations – after all, being sustainable is the topic of our time.

Last year’s Green Personality, Michel Drappier, provided the Champagne for this year’s awards ceremony. Picture credit: winecellarplus.co.za

Thankfully, our annual awards celebrate the eco-conscious and ethical, and in doing so, draw attention to green leaders in the hope that this will encourage others to follow in their sustainable footsteps, and improve the overall image of wines, beers and spirits.

Importantly, there were some inspirational recipients this year, who prove that being green doesn’t just mean a bit of light-weighting and tree-planting.

As I’ve said before, if you’re going to play the sustainable card, you must consider all aspects of your operations – whether that’s energy use and generation, waste treatment, recycling rates, transport type, packaging weight and, importantly, how you can actually benefit your surroundings, socially and environmentally.

In terms of packaging, already drinks have a head start, and that’s because wines and spirits generally use glass, which may not be as light as plastic, but is a material that’s both inert and easily recycled.

We also use cork, which may not be perfect, but is a natural, biodegradable material that supports both extremely diverse ecosystems, as well as skilled agricultural labourers in poor and sparsely-populated parts of southwestern Europe.

However, in wine production specifically, we do use large amounts of water, and potentially damaging environmental inputs in the form of fungicides, pesticides and weed-killers.

Reducing water use and fungicide applications is a must, while, due to the advance in soil management techniques, it is now unacceptable for any winegrowing business to be applying poisonous chemicals to ground-cover plants.

Amorim sponsors the sustainability and biodiversity awards in The Drinks Business Green Awards, and provides cork frames for the certificates for all categories

Businesses, whatever the drinks sector, need to find ways to be sustainable from an economic as well as environmental perspective – and if margins are so low that corner-cutting comes at the expense of caring for employees and the natural environment, then one must question the business model.

With importers, distributors, retailers and consumers increasingly demanding ethically-sourced products that do as little as possible to pollute their environs, producers in all sectors of drinks industry must improve their green credentials to survive in the long term.

With that said, let us consider the greenest beacons in the business, be they generic organisations and major multinationals, or small vineyards and brand start-ups.

Before we do, db would like to state its thanks to our judges in 2018’s awards, along with our lead sponsor, Amorim, for its continued support of the sustainability and biodiversity awards, and the provision of cork-framed certificates for all our winners.

We are also extremely grateful to Ty Nant for the water, Gerard Bertrand for white, red and rosé from their Domaine Cigalus and Chateau la Sauvageonne wine estates, and Drappier for the sustainably-made Champagne.

If you want to see the categories in full, please click here, or, for some tips on ‘how to win’, please click here, and for more general information about The Drinks Business Green Awards, click here.

The winners of this year’s awards are featured below, and, if you want to see last year’s winners please click here.

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