FOR JACKSON FAMILY WINES, ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY IS KEY TO ITS SURVIVAL
Since planting its first vines in 1974, environmental stewardship and social responsibility have been integral to Jackson Family Wines’ success. “It’s important for us to farm our estate vineyards in a responsible, sustainable way to ensure the land stays healthy,” says Katie Jackson, senior vice-president of corporate social responsibility.
That belief has translated into land and water conservation, low-impact farming and energy management. Jackson Family Wines—which has estates in California, Oregon, France, Italy, Australia, Chile, and South Africa—co-founded International Wineries for Climate Action (IWCA) in 2019 and was named the 2020 Green Company by The Drinks Business Green Awards.
We spoke to Jackson about how companies can successfully integrate sustainability into their business practices:
How would you describe Jackson Family Wines’ philosophy?
Environmental stewardship and sustainability are at the heart of everything we do. Our initiatives are guided by the global urgency to accelerate the implementation of innovative solutions and mitigate the effects of climate change. Innovation is integral to taking us into the future—and it will provide critical solutions.
What initiatives are you most proud of?
Our company has been at the forefront of a lot of innovation and sustainable practices that are now championed by the global wine industry. I am extremely proud of the work we’ve done to reduce our carbon footprint and increase our onsite renewable energy sources. Since 2015, we have reduced our carbon emissions by 17.5 per cent across our direct operations and value and supply chains. Our goal is to cut our emissions in half by 2030 and become Climate Positive by 2050.
What advice would you give to companies in the food and beverage industry that are in the process of establishing a corporate sustainability policy?
Sustainability and climate action policies should be an extension of your company vision. It’s important to bring together all aspects of the business to hear their ideas and points of view, as well as define everyone’s role and responsibility in helping enact change and achieve the goals. When you give ownership of a goal to all stakeholders, everyone can rally behind your mission and feel a sense of accomplishment.
Why was it important to co-found International Wineries for Climate Action (IWCA)?
We need collective action on a global scale to reduce our industry’s carbon footprint. IWCA’s mission is to raise awareness within our community about the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It offers a framework adhering to a standardized methodology for accounting emissions and prioritizing best practices and mitigation strategies. We were fortunate to find a partner in Familia Torres of Spain — they share our values and commitment to lead our industry forward with these action plans. Within the first year, IWCA already had 10 members from six countries across four continents.
How can sustainable practices be part of a successful business model?
Making investments today that positively impact our environmental stewardship and climate action initiatives will pay off in the future. For example, we have piloted programs that have helped us reduce our reliance on natural gas and electricity through solar energy. We’ve saved 30 million gallons of water a year at our wineries as a result of our innovative water reuse and conservation initiatives, such as piloting barrel wash water recycling and rainwater capture systems. We’ve also invested in building healthy soils in our vineyards through composting, cover cropping and reduced tillage that help reduce our reliance on chemical inputs.
What lessons have you learned?
No action is too small. Every person in our company can make a significant impact on our sustainability efforts. We’re always learning how to better communicate to our stakeholders on how our collective efforts impact the greater good of our business and our environmental responsibility. You can’t manage what you don’t measure, so we have gone to great lengths to baseline our company’s usage of water, energy, waste and greenhouse gas emissions. As a result, we can take a meaningful approach to developing and managing plans to reduce our impacts in a transparent way.
International Wineries for Climate Action (IWCA)
“Taking collective action to decarbonize the global wine industry.”
WHY JOIN IWCA
- Because the global climate crisis requires immediate action.
- By joining IWCA, your winery has recognized the severity of the climate crisis and is committed to taking immediate action to help reduce the wine industry’s carbon footprint given the direct impact climate change has on our vineyards and wines.
- The more wineries participating in IWCA, the louder our voice to raise awareness on climate change and urge for immediate, global action.
- Given the science-based approach of IWCA and the strictness of its requirements, your winery will be perceived as one that is strongly and sincerely committed in the fight against climate change.
- IWCA creates a space for collaboration that encourages the sharing of best practices that mitigate climate impacts in vineyard and winery operations, from which you can benefit.
- To be at least 20 per cent powered by onsite renewable energy (excluding the purchase of RECS or other offsets).
- To have completed a minimum baseline third-party verified GHG inventory for a standardized set of emissions categories across Scopes 1-3 (using WRI GHG protocol and ISO 14064 process), including 90 per cent of the organization’s volume within the region where its main winery and vineyards are located.
- To demonstrate at least a 25 per cent reduction of CO2 emissions per unit of wine produced from a baseline emissions inventory year as proof of proactive ongoing commitment.
- To have a mid-term objective to reduce total emissions 50 per cent by 2030, aiming to become Climate Positive by 2050.
To learn more or become a member of IWCA, please visit iwcawine.org.