Last Monday, 28th November, we attended the presentation of the Sustainable Wineries for Climate Protection seal in the Assembly Hall of the Ministry of Agriculture, in Madrid, by the Spanish Wine Federation (FEV, by its Spanish acronymn). This seal and certification scheme defines the criteria that a sustainable winery must meet from an environmental, social and economic point of view.
What is SWfCP and how does it work?
This certification scheme is the evolution of the “Wineries for Climate Protection” sustainability seal, promoted by the FEV and in operation since 2015. It is the first specific certification for wineries, which allows demonstrating the real commitment of an organisation to sustainability in a solid and quantifiable way, through an external verification.
The extension of this label seeks to adapt to global and market challenges and to further align with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Therefore, from 2023, it will include, in addition to the environmental pillar (reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, implementation of renewable energy and energy efficiency measures, waste reduction and efficient water management), criteria of sustainability and social, economic and governance justice.
Wineries that meet the requirements of the scheme can apply to one of the authorised bodies for certification as of 1 January. To do so, they must pass an audit and, if they obtain a favourable verification report based on the evaluation criteria of the regulation, they will obtain the SWfCP seal. Those wineries that have already obtained the certificate will have to undergo a new audit with the new criteria. Currently, 50 wineries are already certified under the seal.
Why is a sustainability scheme for wineries necessary?
The wine sector is being and is expected to be one of the hardest hit by global warming. Wineries face the challenge of adapting to the new circumstances brought about by climate change in order to maintain their production and also to join the just transition towards more sustainable development models.
The SWfCP label responds to the challenges set by the United Nations SDGs and the commitments adopted by the European Union and its member countries. In addition, consumers and society as a whole are increasingly demanding a real and tangible commitment to sustainability from the companies behind the products they consume.
It is therefore necessary to develop a specific certification scheme for the wine sector in order to respond to the demands and to highlight its commitment and efforts towards sustainable development.
In addition, obtaining this certification provides a number of competitive advantages for wineries:
- Rigorous and measurable demonstration of sustainability and alignment with the SDGs
- Savings in the medium and long term through continuous process improvement
- Differential value in the market, incorporating a seal recognised by national and international distribution
- Higher scores in the Support Programmes for the Wine Sector
- Direct and agile access to the National Carbon Footprint Register of the Ministry for Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge
The certification also includes an additional category, “Spanish Wineries for Emission Reduction”, which implies a higher requirement in the reduction of GHG emissions and additional conditions in terms of energy and carbon footprint reduction. This category is based on the philosophy of continuous improvement, where wineries must have a specific plan for each area.
Accompaniment and assistance for wineries
In order to obtain the seal, it is necessary for the winery to assess the status from which it starts in order to meet the minimum requirements to pass the initial verification. In some cases, this is a costly process in terms of time and resources. It is therefore necessary for them to work with an entity that accompanies them in the process and helps them to prepare the necessary documentation and calculations in order to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability.