Kim Wilson and Rebecca Murphy recently joined Hanna Halmari from Sustainable Wine Roundtable on their member podcast to talk about our sustainability journey and B Corp aspirations. 

In their respective roles as managing director & founder and technical & buying assistant, Kim and Rebecca have project led our B Corp submission, along with finance director, Simon Ollendorff. 

In the podcast, they discuss why, as we emerged from the first lockdown, we set out to formalize our sustainability efforts and how we decided that B Corp would be the best framework for this. From understanding terminology and reassessing packaging to community work and B Corp networking, they cover a lot of topics in half an hour. 

To listen to the podcast in full, please follow the link.

We have picked out some of the key points from the discussion below.

More detail on our sustainability journey and our B Corp Impact Report can be found on our website, here.

The scale of the B Corp Challenge

The ambition for sustainable development and achieving it are two very different things. 

When we first investigated the B Corp submission and realised quite what we had embarked upon as a business, it felt very daunting. B Corp is rightly rigid and taxing and the scale of the challenge can be overwhelming as it requires so much time and resource. 

Encouragingly, we were already doing a number of things they recommend, just without a framework. We’ve turned those existing actions into policies, rewritten our company vision and mission, and enhanced our Ethical, Social & Environmental policy. 

Informed strategy

Our Finance Director, Simon, volunteered to undertake a Carbon Footprinting course. We could have used an external party, but Simon wanted to fully understand what this meant for our business, so we have in-house expertise going forward when calculating our Scope 1 & 2 GHG emissions.

As a company, we’ve had to change our perception of what sustainability means, as it covers everything from a winery’s renewable energy usage to our marketing team’s stationary purchasing. 

Collaborative effort

Our winery partners are on this journey with us. We are in the fortunate position that all of our suppliers have some form of sustainability focus. De Bortoli is an environmental pioneer, Painted Wolf Wines were set up to raise money for conservation, Scheid Family Wines run off 100% renewable energy and are very active in their community. And we could go on.

Using the 5 Pillars of sustainability outlined by B Corp, we have worked with each supplier to highlight their strengths and areas for improvement. 

  1. Governance
  2. Workers
  3. Community
  4. Customers
  5. Environment

Each supplier has completed a ‘Sustainability Questionnaire’ that asks them what they are doing now and what they are planning on doing.

They are such an engaged and enthusiastic group, eager to share knowledge and best practice and it has been inspiring to see them get excited about the process.

B Corp is more than an accreditation, it is a community. Connecting with businesses within and outside our industry has been hugely motivating. One of our winery partners, Mirabeau, is going through the process at the same time and it has been great to share our experiences and learnings along the way.

Message in a bottle

We set out to examine every aspect of packaging last year. We considered everything from the % of recycled glass in each bottle to the clarity of the recycling information on each label for the end consumer. We were able to gather about 85% of this information last year and aim for 100% this year.

% Recycled content

FSC certifications

By analysing all of our products, including own-brand, we have been able to set targets for improving all areas by 2025. This is a realistic timeframe, as it doesn’t put undue pressure on suppliers to change mid-vintage and create unnecessary wastage.

Continual development

It’s about the journey, not the destination. So, sustainable development is all about finding ways to improve. 

Naturally, we would love to achieve the 80 points for B Corp accreditation first time around. Although this might not happen, we will continue to try and hit the magic number. 

Even when we do achieve it, B Corp requires recertification every 3 years with the view that you improve your score each time. This is the ethos we all need towards sustainability. We know that we’ve already become a fundamentally better business since we started the process.

Certification is not the finish line.