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10/10/2008

McLaren Vale Grape, Wine and Tourism a carbon neutral leader

McLaren Vale Grape, Wine and Tourism Association has established its position as a leader in environmental sustainability by becoming the first regional association in the Australian wine industry to become carbon neutral.

An audit of the Association’s emissions conducted between April 2007 and March 2008 by Balance Carbon assessed emissions and recommended improvements to increase the energy efficiency and reduce emissions.

Viticultural Officer Amy Richards said the audit is part of the Association’s Environmental Management Plan (EMP) which is the foundation for building the region’s environment credentials.

“The recommendations from the carbon emissions audit together with our EMP will ensure McLaren Vale can measure, manage and mitigate our impact on climate,” said Amy.

“We’re acutely aware of the need to ensure regional sustainability and we’re proud to be leading the way by setting a positive example for other wine industry associations. We introduced a five-year EMP at the end of last year giving the region a strategic direction to manage its environmental impact.

“We want to make sure the protection and enhancement of our environment is ongoing for the benefit of current and future generations and develop an integrated and unified approach to environmental management.”

The carbon audit measured emissions from fuel, electricity consumption, waste output, business related travel, fugitive emissions and full fuel cycle emissions from electricity and transportation of fuels.

“The report by Balance Carbon has given us strategies to reduce our emissions such as developing some of our information and educational programs online saving air travel and fuel emissions,” Amy said. “We will also purchase 220 certified carbon credits to achieve a zero net emissions.”

The McLaren Vale Grape, Wine and Tourism Association is planning a series of audits for members in the coming months to help make the process affordable for smaller businesses.

“It’s important that we set an example for our 300 members. We’re looking forward to educating members and visitors to the region about how everyone can be a big part of the solution rather than a small part of the problem,” said Amy.

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