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ProWein: sustainability starts with being open to change

Following The Drinks Business Green Awards this week, we sat down with our sponsors, Bastian Mingers, project director of ProWein, Elke Moebius, director of EuroShop, and Dr Andreas Moerke, executive team manager of Energy Storage Europe, to talk about sustainability, what wine businesses can do to reduce their carbon footprint and why being open to change is the first step.

As Bastian Mingers points, trade shows have developed hugely in recent years. He argues that whereas in the old days, it was enough to sell the promise of good business and send an invoice for square metres, “that is no longer the key to be a successful trade fair organiser”.

“In these times, you need to understand what your clients business are coping with, what their needs and demands are,” he argues. As events over the last year have shown– from extreme weather conditions to wildfires in Australia and California, and the chaos caused by Covid-19 – complacency isn’t an option.

Elke Moebius points out that being in the middle of the pandemic has challenged the status quo. “Sustainability gains a lot of importance as people are thinking differently to how they did a year ago. They understand that we need to act and everyone needs so contribute to better greener world,” she argues.

Mingers argues that one of the biggest barriers to companies becoming greener and more sustainable is cost and professional advisory.

“It’s in the media and everyone is talking about it – but a lot of companies cannot afford the investment right away. It’s good to think about investments and solutions on how to protect the climate – it’s the future, but it’s not that cheap at the moment. It comes with a price tag. We need to show businesses what is possible, and what is available at a reasonable price,” he said

However he points out that battery sales are dropping in price, storage units becoming more affordable and  there are more efficient solution on the market, just  as photovoltaic solutions above the grape canopy that lets in 70% of sunlight but protect grapes from sunburn, hail and heavy rain, while also producing energy. “That kind of solution is very beneficial in terms of agriculture, logistics, energy and climate protection,” he says.

Bastian Mingers, project director of ProWein

ProWein is fortunate to be able to tap into the resources of Messe Düsseldorf’s sister trade shows to present industry advance that could hugely benefit the wine sector. The organisers of EuroShop, which was established in 1966 and is now the leading show for retail, shop fitting, retail technology marketing and energy management and Energy Storage Europe, a young, dynamic show that runs immediately prior to ProWein, collaborate closely with Bastian’s team to provide joint-content and best practise case studies by exhibitors that can be applicable to the wine sector.

Energy Storage`s Andreas Moerke adds that his show is shifting to become a one stop agency for industry decarbonisation, even providing support on the financial side, from investments, to loans and financial options.

“We want to be the platform where different industries can get solutions of how to decarbonise their production process, from carbon emission analysis, to finance and storage technologies to help CO2 reduction from transportation to logistics” he explains. “Our aim is that a winery could come and get all the information on the necessary technology – and then implement it in the cellar and vineyard.”

As Moebius points out sustainability also comes from inspiring design, which are also on show at EuroShop. “You can have a store which is green because it uses reused materials – for example Timberland uses recycled material and designs it in a way to look used, which looks great,” she says.

“With inspiration from Energy Storage and EuroShop, wine businesses can find steps you can put together like a big puzzle and a big picture in the end that can save your business case,” Mingers explains.

“There is a lot that wineries can do to spearhead protecting the climate – we saw this in the judging of The Drinks Business Green Awards – there are impressive approaches of what companies are already doing, however you can never do enough to protect what is your main business assets,” he says. “For many companies it is small steps, as not everyone can do the big leap, but we should all try to reach for more in a more professional way, for example focusing on partners who have the same mindset in terms of say, logistics.”

So what are the team’s top tips to wine businesses?

For Moerke, the most important thing is to analyse processes and energy management to get an idea of your carbon footprint and determine what can be done to improve it. “Be aware you have to do something and be open to the result of these analyses,” he explains. “And then you’ll find the technology to implement and become more sustainable.”

Moebius argues that it is not about the mid-term, but the long term. “Think of tomorrow,” she says. “This way, your children can enjoy the wine in 20, 30, 50 years’ time.”

Bastian agrees, arguing that in order to protect the essence of your business, you need to be open to what can be changed and be the change of mindset. “It doesn’t matter what you were doing before today, the only thing that matters is what you do now,” he points out.  “Even if did not have a strong approach to climate protection in previous generations, you can change that right away and make things better by adjusting your efforts from now onwards.”

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