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People, Planet, Profits - Sustainability In Wine & Spirits

Photo for: People, Planet, Profits - Sustainability In Wine & Spirits

Sustainability, arguably the hottest topic in 2022. Here's how you can implement it in your business.


In this session, Martin Reyes MW covers why sustainability is so important today for the wine & spirits industry, shares facts and myths surrounding sustainability, and provides a business perspective for companies on how sustainable operations can lead to better profits and scale.

With this brief session at the 2021 International Bulk Wine & Spirits Show, Martin Reyes MW clarifies the need for sustainability today. Watch the Complete Session Video here.

Time Stamps:

Introduction: 0:00 - 2:33
Understanding the Why: 2:34 - 8:37
Comprehending the facts: 8:37 - 16:19
Recognizing the opportunity: 16:20 - 28:09
Conclusion: 28:10 - 30:12
Question & Answers: 30:13 - 32:46


Sustainability in Beverages, Why Now?

People and companies know that sustainability is the right path to be on, but oftentimes the importance and need of sustainability can get lost in the noise surrounding the topic. There are a ton of questions that many of us might have like ‘Where to start’ or ‘Is it affordable’.

But as Martin Reyes aptly says:

“I want to consider sustainability a priority today, and not tomorrow, but now!”

So what’s the big deal about Sustainability?

With this brief session at the 2021 International Bulk Wine & Spirits Show, Martin Reyes MW clarifies the need for sustainability today.

Understanding the why:

Over the recent years, there has been an overwhelming amount of news and headlines concerning climate change and 5-10 year effects trajectory and consequences of not moving towards sustainability. This is very realistic considering the impacts that climate change and global warming are having on the environment and the visibly adverse effects.

However, taking a little optimistic detour, 23 countries have already reduced their carbon footprint in the past 10 years and even though there is a lot more to be done, the worst-case scenario seems to have been averted for now and we might not necessarily be on that path due to these steps we’re taking towards sustainability.

What makes sustainability exciting is the concrete solutions it provides to make economic sense along with the positive impact it has on our ecosystem. With the world talking about sustainability, Martin provides a business case for embracing sustainability. It makes financial sense and these are some exciting times for the wine & spirits trade to decide whether we want to embrace this philosophy in our business.

Comprehending the facts:

Sustainability essentially boils down to the 3Ps. Sustaining People, Sustaining the Planet we live on, and Sustaining Profits for the years to come. Now, these are 3 very broad and vague terms to actually describe sustainability itself. How do we actually measure how we are impacting the environment?

Well, speaking in tangible terms, most of the sustainability certifications around the world revolve around these 6 concepts:

  • Climate Action
  • Water Efficiency
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Social Equity
  • Pesticide Reduction
  • Waste Reduction

Watch the clip at the end of this topic to hear more about these 6 concepts.

Melting some misconceptions about sustainability.

3 very common words that are used casually with sustainability are Organic, Biodynamic, and Natural. That is like picking up a jigsaw piece and claiming that the puzzle is solved.

Organic, Biodynamic, or Natural alone are not enough to be called a sustainable operation. Yes, they’re a step towards sustainability, a part of the bigger picture.

Relative Impacts for carbon footprint of packaged wine

In the graph above, you can see the relative impacts of the carbon footprint of packaged wine, cradle-to-retail gate. Image Courtesy: Martin Reyes MW's Session on Sustainability at the 2021 International Bulk Wine & Spirits Show.

Sustainability as a concept has been diluted over the years due to complications such as greenwashing where a certain someone or some company uses 1 or 2 things such as installing solar panels to call themselves sustainable. But that is not what sustainability is about.

There are people who Martin likes to call ‘Sustainability Warriors’ around the world who are at the forefront of restoring faith in sustainability certifications by proving the need for the concept and the overall effect it has had in the past and is going to have in the mid-to-long-term future.

Thanks to these pioneers of change, sustainability is no longer just a buzzword or a fad. People are genuinely concerned about the impact their actions have and are taking it into consideration while making purchases.

As Martin shares data from various sources in his talk:

  • About 60% of consumers are making more sustainable or ethical purchases since the pandemic began.
  • Multiple surveys have concluded that since 2013 sales of sustainable products have grown by a factor of 5 as compared to normal products.
  • Consumers want to support sustainable products but are sometimes not able to id such products.
  • From a 2020 survey of more than 450 wine trade members, over 76% of them believe that the demand for sustainably produced wines and spirits will grow in the next decade.

Recognizing the opportunity:

The 3rd P, the Business Case for Sustainability, is essentially the most important part of this because doing the right things won’t matter if you’re out of business in doing it. Resilience and Adaptability in processes moving towards sustainability provide businesses with a competitive edge as compared to those who are not moving with the times. Better Resource Management results in an almost immediate cost saving.

Sustainable methods such as Carbon Farming/ Regenerative Farming, Biodynamic concepts, etc. have proven to be better for profitability. Simply explained in an equation,

Increase Soil Health -> Water Efficiency -> Vine Resilience -> $$$

Check out the video session for more such business cases for sustainability in the wine & spirits industry for wineries, for the supply chain, etc.

Don’t miss Martin’s exclusive take on the role of Social Equity and Diversity in increasing profitability and some more examples of business cases on how moving towards Sustainability can help a company economically.


1. Are you looking to take your first step towards sustainability? Or want to improve your processes? Reach out to https://reyeswinegroup.com/ and they’ll help you dive right in.

2. Go for some certifications such as NapaGreen.org / SIP Certified / CSWA / LIVE.org.

3. Remember the 3 Whys of Sustainability.

  • Remember what’s at stake
  • Remember to be a climate optimist and to protect what you love
  • Remember that Sustainable Solutions can actually be Profitable.

Question and Answers:

1. How would you communicate via marketing to the consumer about sustainability?

2. If you were gonna recommend 1 highest ROI step for businesses who are getting their first foot into sustainability, what would it be?

Martin answers these questions in his talk. Watch the complete video to move ahead on your path towards sustainability.

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