From vine to bottle: sustainability a core value for Barossa winery

From vine to bottle: sustainability a core value for Barossa winery

'You're only as sustainable as the weakest member of your value network.' So says Cecil Camilleri, sustainable wine programmes manager for leading Barossa winery, Yalumba Wine Company.
For the past 20 years, Camilleri has been spearheading Yalumba's sustainability programme. He has undertaken various research projects with the overall aim of making the wine company resilient and adaptive to a competitive wine market that is increasingly being impacted by climate change.
In protecting the winery's future, Cecil has devised methods for the winery and its people to protect the essential elements that make up wine - air, water, soil and energy - throughout Yalumba's supply chain.
Communicating and engaging these methods to Yalumba's stakeholders (employees, the board, suppliers and consumers) has been the focus of Camilleri's latest research, which concludes this month.
'After five years of research on whether our sustainability programme was delivering, we found we weren't communicating it as well as we could,' Camilleri said.
'While we were on the right road towards sustainability, we were being burdened by not communicating with our stakeholders and we realised we needed to ensure our sustainability was well communicated and more engaging.
'We all have to travel the journey of sustainability together. Everyone needs to be engaged and everyone needs to do their bit.'
The research, undertaken by Camilleri at the School of Communication, International Studies and Languages at the University of South Australia, draws on Camilleri's previous research, which formed the basis for Yalumba's sustainability programme ('Commitment to Sustainable Winemaking programme').
Until now, the programme had identified five pillars of sustainability:
land stewardship: Yalumba's Vitis programme aims to promote economic production of grapes with maximum attention to environmental outcomes
product stewardship: Yalumba's action plan demonstrates continuous improvement in packaging waste reduction and management
climate change mitigation and adaption: Yalumba has adopted a life-cycle approach to continuous improvement in energy conservation, efficient energy consumption, fuel substitution and clean technology
wastewater management: Yalumba has a programme to reduce, recycle and reuse wastewater produced from its operations
organisational citizenship: the company also has a program to raise awareness to its stakeholders on how to prevent or minimise negative impacts to the business.
In achieving more engagement and communication with its stakeholders, Yalumba undertakes traditional project management techniques as well as a positive stance. Increasingly the company will focus on:
changing how people think, instead of what people do
supporting self-organising change processes that flow from new ideas
understanding how, through sense-making and sense-giving, the meaning of sustainability is shaped by social interests and ideologies and how it is adapted as society changes.
Camilleri said sustainability involves three integral factors: economical, social and environmental.
'As a commercial organisation, we need to make sure we make a decent profit - one that is sound but does not compromise the life options of present and future generations. A profit that is based on optimisation rather than maximisation,' Camilleri said.
'We need to balance our social and environmental responsibilities to make a profit, to ensure fair return of risk to employee and owner.'
He said Yalumba's commitment to social responsibility was based on its commitment to its employees, while its focus on the environment was about doing more with less.
'Essentially it is to do with being very efficient at what one is doing in avoiding waste,' he said.
Camilleri said Yalumba's approach was entire post-modern and holistic - something he says any winery could stand to learn from.
'If we can do what we're doing, then anyone can. There's nothing special to us other than that we've set our minds to be sustainable and to build on the positive things we are doing and address the things we are not doing properly,' he said.
'The message is really simple: it is to do be very efficient at what one is doing in avoiding waste.'
For more information on Yalumba's sustainability programme, visit: www.yalumba.com

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