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Wine Australia strengthens focus on sector’s sustainability

Montepulciano Vines. Photo Harrison Davies

Wine Australia has announced a new multidisciplinary focus on sustainability, and environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG).

Rachel Triggs, Wine Australia’s General Manager ESG and Market Access, will reportedly lead a multifaceted program incorporating expertise from across the grape and wine landscape to build a sector-wide sustainability and ESG strategy for the Australian grape and wine sector.

Wine Australia Chief Executive Officer Dr Martin Cole said the new program is the result of feedback from the Australian grape and wine sector.

“Many across our grape and wine community are already applying sustainable practices and are undertaking initiatives to improve the environments that we operate in,” Cole said.

“However, our conversations with our community have confirmed that it’s increasingly important that we invest further in sustainability and ESG.

“There is an urgency to see our sector’s efforts expanded beyond environmental sustainability to incorporate ethical and economic sustainability in a greater capacity.

“The global operating environment for our sector is on the cusp of considerable change and there is a strong desire to incorporate a greater scientific evidence base to demonstrate our credentials on the world stage.

“Ms Triggs is a leader at Wine Australia with significant expertise to support the sector and I am thrilled that she will be helping our sector to achieve these goals and take a leading role internationally in sustainability and ESG.”

Triggs said that the rapidly changing international landscape means there is a significant market access risk over the medium- to long-term if the sector does not act.

“Globally, there is an increasing expectation that ESG frameworks be contemplated in assessing the impact and ethical practices of companies, and these are having a significant impact on global market access dynamics, including on purchasing and investment trends,” Triggs said.

“We intend to support the Australian grape and wine sector through demonstrating its sustainability and ESG credentials across the triple bottom line – ethical, economic and environmental sustainability.

“The Australian grape and wine community can be a leader in sustainability and ESG, and it’s vital that we act now. I’m delighted to be supporting the sector in this critical area and look forward to working with our community in driving meaningful change.”

The announcement has received support from the grape and wine community, with Australian Grape & Wine and the Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI) welcoming the strengthened focus.

“Sustainability continues to play an increasingly important role across the wine sector, not just in terms of stewardship of our environments, but increasingly in meeting the needs of all stakeholders of the Australian wine sector,” Chair of Australian Grape & Wine’s Sustainability Committee and Wine Australia Deputy Chair Cath Oates said.

“We’re thrilled to see the topic in sharp focus for Wine Australia and the incorporation of ESG frameworks for the sector as this will support a vibrant and valued wine community into the future.”

AWRI Managing Director Dr Mark Krstic added that they were pleased to support this new direction at Wine Australia

“To see Sustainable Winegrowing Australia playing a vital role. This is a great opportunity for our sector and the AWRI to continue to work together to provide a solid scientific evidence base to support Australia’s sustainability credentials,” he said.

In the coming months, Wine Australia will work closely with its customers across the Australian grape and wine community to co-design the sustainability strategy and future directions.

 

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