The wine sector’s contribution to carbon neutrality with ‘Objectif Climat’

door | 24 feb 2022 | Internationaal

The French wine industry is greatly impacted by climate change and thus fully committed to an environmental approach. As part of France’s strategy to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, the Bourgogne Wine Board (BIVB) has teamed up with Adelphe to jointly develop, by the end of the first half of 2022, a methodology that will pinpoint the action required to achieve carbon neutrality in the wine sector: Objectif Climat.

The carbon audits carried out over the past few years by various inter-branch organisations in the wine industry demonstrate that packaging represents between 30 and 40% of the carbon emitted by the sector. With this in mind, Adelphe is stepping up its support for the industry in terms of eco-design packaging and is developing its expertise by including the reduction of greenhouse gases across the wine sector’s entire value chain. To do so, Adelphe has enlisted the expertise of Didier Livio, a sustainable development strategy consultant.

“With Objectif Climat, together with the BIVB, we are launching an innovative project on a regional scale that is developing and expanding our eco-design expertise to include the carbon footprint of wine packaging and of the sector’s entire value chain. We are keen to carry out this trial as the results will enable our clients to take their approach a step further and stay ahead of the increasingly active regulations on these topics. Thanks to this pioneering project, in future we aim to offer solutions to companies to ease the ecological transition of winegrowing areas”, applauds Sophie Wolff, Managing Director of Adelphe.

As a result of this partnership, the 3,600 wine estates, 270 negociants and 16 cooperative wineries which make up Bourgogne’s landscape will be able to benefit from this practical methodology and implement the suggested recommendations. Each stage of the production chain will be taken into account: from work in the vineyard to shipping the wine, not forgetting vinification, packaging and logistics, etc.

Once the ‘Objectif Climat’ project is complete, and thanks to the BIVB’s commitment, Adelphe hopes to unite French winegrowing regions around a common desire to help France achieve carbon neutrality. The principle of this strategy is to go beyond company level to include an entire area.

Defining a reduction and compensation path that is tailored to the wine industry

The efforts made nationally over the past 15 years in the various winegrowing regions point to a steady improvement in carbon footprints. However, companies do not always have the technical and financial means to accurately identify and implement the major changes needed to achieve the carbon neutral target by 2050 . Aware of the enormous climate challenge, Adelphe therefore introduced this approach to help its ‘wine and spirits’ clients by setting up a pilot project in conjunction with Bourgogne’s wine-industry stakeholders.

With Adelphe’s assistance, the BIVB wishes to continue the work initiated by measuring carbon footprints by giving impetus to companies in the sector thanks to a specific action plan to reduce carbon emissions in each company.

At the same time, Adelphe and the BIVB will devise an approach to capture CO2 and to develop biodiversity in close proximity to predominately winegrowing regions.

“Beyond the issue of carbon and its neutralisation, which is part of a global approach, the reflection process goes much further. It gives us a chance to question our usual production and consumption patterns (working the land without seeing the limits of its resources) and reflect on all of the challenges we face: requirements of society, attractiveness of work and demographic issues. It’s an opportunity to conceive and develop a production model that corresponds to a new perception of the use of resources and that meets current constraints. Ultimately, it’s a way of thinking up opportunities for the future, explains Jean-Yves Bizot, a winegrower based in Vosne-Romanée and a member of the BIVB’s Technical Committee in charge of the issue.

The methodology is set to be validated and distributed by summer 2022. Other French winegrowing regions will be able to use the content. They will then be able to take their own reduction and compensation steps so that carbon neutrality can be achieved across the sector’s entire value chain.

A project that will rally together all stakeholders in the wine sector, from upstream to downstream

Adelphe’s ‘Objectif Climat’ methodology consists of three stages:

  •  1. Measure: Start with the carbon audit of the Bourgogne wine sector, conducted by a certified organisation in 2021. Then, collect additional information and enter into discussions with stakeholders in the sector (sources of additional information) to develop the strategy. Work carried between late 2021 and early 2022.
  •  2. ReduceDefine a path to reduce carbon across the entire value chain, including packaging of course, and identify the residual emissions to neutralise.
  •  3. Compensate: Implement actions to neutralise irreducible greenhouse gas emissions. For this third stage, Adelphe and the BIVB have a strong focus on encouraging the creation of carbon capture projects in the relevant areas. These projects should be set up right in the heart of the vineyards (plant canopies or hedge planting) and by means of farming practices, such as agroforestry or forestry projects. They would be entitled to receive the ‘Low Carbon’ label awarded by the Ministry of Ecological Transition as part of the method currently being developed for the wine industry by the French Wine and Vine Institute (IFV).