Tackling Climate Change w/ Josep Maria Ribas & Julien Gervreau, IWCA
Play • 46 min

With droughts, floods, hail, wildfires, and more challenging how wine is made, Familia Torres and Jackson Family Wines are leading the way to tackle climate change in the wine industry by founding the International Wineries for Climate Action.  Founded in 2019, the group already has 22 members and continues to expand its reach and impact.  Listen in as Josep Maria Ribas Portella, Climate Change Director for Familia Torres, and Julien Gervreau, VP Sustainability at Jackson Family Wines, tell us about the impacts of climate change, how to measure GHG in the wine industry, and ways wineries are working to improve their emissions.  A mission-critical effort for the entire wine industry, listen in to learn more! 

Detailed Show Notes: 

  • Josep’s & Familia Torres’ background
    • Climate Change Director, an energy engineer, has been with Familia Torres for five years
    • Torres - 150-year history, 5th generation running the company
    • Climate change dept reports directly to Miguel Torres (CEO), who got passionate about the subject after watching An Inconvenient Truth with Al Gore
  • Julien & Jackson Family Wines’ (“JFW”) background
    • VP Sustainability at JFW
    • JFW is a large, family-owned company, best known for Kendall Jackson and La Crema
    • In the 2nd generation, the company is very passionate about climate change
    • 2008 - Torres and JFW came together on climate change and the need to measure greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions
  • International Wineries for Climate Action (IWCA)
    • Founded by Torres and JFW in 2019
    • ~2010 - Miguel Torres tried to start something similar in Spain, but it didn’t work out
    • Deciding to partner w/ JFW and make it international led to the successful launch of the IWCA
    • IWCA tries to standardize emissions measurement and communications
    • The wine industry is not a significant contributor to climate change, but agriculture is an emerging area of opportunity, and wine can represent agriculture more broadly
    • IWCA is 1st agriculture group to join the UN’s “Race to Zero” initiative
  • Impact of climate change on the wine industry
    • The impacts are being felt globally (Torres)
    • Advanced ripening of grapes (leading to higher alcohols)
    • More extreme weather - prolonged droughts in Spain, flooding, late hail, hydric stress (leading to worse wildfires), late-season heat spikes
  • Measuring GHG emissions - Scope 1-3 definition
    • Scope 1 - direct emissions - e.g., fuel burnt in winery vehicles, gas used in boilers, CO2 usage
    • Scope 2 - indirect emissions from purchase of electricity
    • Scope 3 - indirect emissions from purchased goods and services - e.g., packaging, logistics, waste disposal of bottles, etc.…
    • Scope 1&2 are ~20-25% of GHG emissions, Scope 3 - 75-80%
  • GHG impact of a bottle of wine
    • Use World Resource Institute’s GHG Protocol and ISO14064 inventory management process
    • For IWCA members (as of Oct 2021) - the average bottle of wine has a 1.61 CO2e/L of GHG emissions
    • Range - 0.75 - ~10 => larger wineries tend to be lower, smaller wineries tend to be higher
  • GHG reduction measures
    • Shipping is ~15% of carbon footprint for Torres => using railroad when possible, ship in bulk (for every 1 bulk shipper sent, it replaces 4 containers, saving 3 shipments)
    • Electricity - many wineries installing onsite renewable energy, primarily solar
      • Harvest is 2.5 months/year but uses ~50% of electric consumption
    • Packaging - ~25% of total GHG footprint
      • Glass is ~20% of the total GHG footprint
      • JFW - reduced  the weight of bottles for KJ and La Crema - saved ~3-4% of total GHG emissions and saved money
      • Reduce weight bottles have more recycled content in the glass, reduce emissions of glass making process (e.g., Furnace of the Future), bloggers starting to weigh bottles before tasting
      • Torres - bottles down to 400g, can’t go much lower, or bottles will break on the bottling line or with consumers
      • Potential future of re-utilizing bottles
    • Regenerative farming - could potentially lead to carbon sequestration in the soil, science still in progress
  • IWCA Mission & Purpose
    • Decarbonize the wine industry as fast as possible
    • 3 membership classes - Gold, Silver, Applicant (committed to joining)
    • Requirements
      • Commit to Net Zero by 2050 with intermediate reductions by 2030 (all)
      • Submit baseline GHG emissions inventory, verified by 3rd party audit (all)
      • Min 20% onsite renewable energy (Gold)
      • Constant reductions year over year (Gold)
    • Do not recognize purchase of external offsets in reductions
    • Target membership
      • Goal - 20 wineries by Nov 2021
      • Oct 2021 - 22 wineries
      • Miguel Torres long-term target - 100 wineries
    • Fees - a sliding scale by volume
      • Flat fee - €4,000 / year
      • Variable fee - €0.01 / case produced / year, cap of 600,000 cases
      • Max fee = €10,000 / year
      • Measurement & verification paid by wineries themselves
  • Released a GHG calculator to enable wineries to catalog emissions data on their own
  • Smaller wineries join (there are members as small as a few thousand cases) to participate in something bigger and to amplify their voice
  • Upcoming for the IWCA
    • Oct 21st - 1st Member Report launch - includes all GHG inventories from all members, which will be made public
    • The website will be overhauled
    • Friends of IWCA category to be launched
    • The initial stage of working groups launching
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