2 November 2021 — Dear wine trade CEOs, the climate emergency is by far the most severe threat that we face as grape growers and wine producers. As world leaders convene this month at COP26 in Scotland to reaffirm their support for the commitments made in 2015 at the Paris Agreement to limit global warming, we recognize now as a critical moment in time for the wine community to voice our support for the continuation of these important efforts and take action within our own companies.
Without rapid and decisive emissions reductions, our future will be defined by almost unimaginable levels of disruption – with devastating consequences for the wine-producing regions that we love and the wines we produce for people all around the world.
Although the magnitude of this challenge requires global action on a monumental scale, we believe that the wine trade has a key role to play in the decarbonisation efforts that are going to define the coming decade. For too long, sustainability has been treated as a PR or communications exercise. In order to respond to the environmental challenges we face, we need to bring sustainability into the heart of our operations. The way we respond to the climate crisis can act as a driver of transformational change and a way of futureproofing not only our businesses but our agriculture-based sector as a whole. In short, this must be our decade of action.
Each of our companies joined International Wineries for Climate Action (IWCA) because we believe it has established the gold standard for how a winery should measure and reduce its carbon footprint. IWCA also acts as a unified voice which can push for faster action throughout the wine supply chain and a support network for sharing best practices.
As you cannot effectively manage what you have not measured, the core of IWCA’s approach involves 1) conducting an annual end-to-end carbon emissions inventory that encompasses direct and indirect emissions sources, verified by an independent ISO-accredited auditor, and 2) committing to an emissions reductions plan and demonstrating consistent progress, aligned to science-based targets with the goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2050, at the latest.
One of IWCA’s founding objectives is to develop a standardised methodology for wineries to account for annual greenhouse gas emissions. This is a key step for ensuring that small wineries and wineries who are new to carbon footprint measurements can engage without prohibitive costs and resource requirements. IWCA has developed a greenhouse gas calculator for US wineries, aligned with the World Resources Institute’s GHG Protocol and the ISO-14064 standard. Our plan is to implement regional updates to the tool and make it widely accessible.
We are proud that IWCA has joined the UN’s Race to Zero campaign, a global initiative to rally leadership and support from more than 6,200 non-state actors who are committed to halving emissions by 2030 and achieving net zero emissions by 2050, at the very latest. Collectively, these ‘real economy’ actors join 120 countries, representing nearly 25% of global CO2 emissions and over 50% of GDP. IWCA was the first Race to Zero member representing the agriculture sector. You can read more about our efforts in our inaugural annual report here.
We are faced with the unavoidable imperative that business leadership today is inseparable from climate leadership. We believe that we each have an obligation to do what we can, within our sphere of influence, to reduce our emissions. We believe that the wine trade can be a beacon of hope and action in the global response to the climate crisis—and serve as a model for other sectors. And we firmly believe that IWCA membership is the most effective way of accelerating an individual winery’s decarbonisation efforts, and by extension, the decarbonisation of the broader wine industry.
IWCA was founded by Familia Torres (Spain) and Jackson Family Wines (USA) in February 2019. IWCA is a collaborative working group that addresses climate change through innovative carbon reduction strategies. IWCA’s objective is for all members to commit to becoming Net Zero by 2050 across Scopes 1- 3, ensuring constant reductions to meet intermediate targets by 2030. By joining the United Nations’ Race to Zero campaign, IWCA is a facilitator and champion within the wine and agricultural industries to build momentum and support for immediate solutions that help move wine producers and vineyard owners closer to becoming climate positive.
IWCA is open to any wine company who views climate change as a serious threat. The organization has three membership categories (Applicant, Silver, and Gold) with requirements that include becoming Net Zero by 2050 at the latest, completing an annual third-party audited greenhouse gas emissions inventory that encompasses Scopes 1-3, powering winemaking operations by renewable energy, and demonstrating a constant reduction of CO2 emissions from a baseline inventory year in line with the overarching Net Zero target. Visit https://www.iwcawine.org/ to learn how your winery can apply to join this organization.