The Drinks Business Green Awards 2019 winners

This year’s Green Awards ceremony was special, as it marked our 10-year milestone of singling out and celebrating green achievements in drinks. Taking place in the elegant surroundings of The Club at The Ivy in Covent Garden, our winners were awarded at a packed-out ceremony last night, and toasted with flutes of Chilean eco pioneer Emiliana’s organic fizz.

While judging the awards, we discovered that South Africa has emerged as a pioneer in the promotion of biodiversity in vineyards; and brewers, distillers and cider makers in the UK are collectively doing their bit to lessen their impact on the environment, from dramatically reducing their water usage and turning apple pulp into fertiliser, to developing the world’s most sustainable bottling facility.

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.

Our awards are still the only set of industry gongs dedicated exclusively to green-thinking drinks companies. While it’s a great position for us to be in, it’s surprising, as sustainability is the hot topic of our time and being green is finally seen as sexy.

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

Today, if you’re going to be truly sustainable, you must consider all aspects of your operations – whether that’s energy use, waste treatment, recycling rates, transport type, packaging weight or how you benefit your surroundings, socially and environmentally.

In terms of packaging, drinks already have a head start, because wines and spirits generally use glass, which is both inert and easily recycled.

We also use cork, which may not be perfect, but is a natural, biodegradable material that supports diverse ecosystems and skilled agricultural labourers in poor and sparsely populated parts of southwestern Europe. However, in wine production specifically, we 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, thanks to advances in soil-management techniques, it is now unacceptable for any winegrowing business to apply poisonous chemicals to ground-cover plants.

Businesses, whatever the drinks sector, need to find ways to be sustainable from an economic as well as an environmental perspective. 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 the drinks industry must improve their green credentials to survive in the long term.

Before we celebrate the green trailblazers in the business, we would like to thank our judges in 2019’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 Welsh spring water, Gerard Bertrand for Château la Sauvageonne La Villa 2018; Jackson Family Wines for Yangarra Estate Old Vine Grenache and Kendall Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay; and Emiliana for its organic fizz.

Click through for our full list of winners from last night’s event.

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