Las Bodegas specialises in importing South American wines. This involves shipping wonderful wines halfway across the world for UK distribution. While we are passionate about wine, we began to realise there was a more Earth-positive way of getting fantastic wines to the consumer.
People underestimate the impact that wine has on the world. Vineyards can be significant emitters, so it is vital to improve the supporting processes of shipping, packaging, and bottling.
With our desire to put the earth first, it was time for a change. Once we had spoken to the great people at Planet Mark, we knew we were on the right track. The first thing we changed was the way our wines are shipped. Shipping the same wines in larger quantities stripped out over 13 tonnes of CO2 from our Scope 3 emissions overnight. As part of this sustainable shift, we also started working with a packaging facility in the UK that generates renewable energy.
To continue this journey, we are launching a new brand to champion sustainability within the overall wine trade. As part of this new brand, we will package all of our wine in the UK with the lightest, UK-produced glass we can source – restricting the distance newly created glass has to travel. In addition, we are embracing smaller format, 100% recycled aluminium cans, to reduce wastage and provide a lighter, more widely recycled alternative to glass bottles.
Every decision we make focuses on taking the sustainable path, so we will now only work with wineries that share our vision and are as committed to sustainability as we are.
As part of our focus on Scope 2 emissions, we gave notice on our old inefficient office, prioritising staff flexibility and reduced energy consumption. We have moved to a nearly paperless office where all files are stored digitally and any paper that is used is recycled. The aim is to be totally paper-free by 2023. We also deliver samples directly from our warehouse in their original packaging, saving hundreds of miles of fuel.
A big barrier to making sustainable change in the wine trade is tradition. There is a belief that the old ways are best, and this means shipping glass bottles from their country of origin. This, however, is where the biggest carbon savings can be made, so reimagining these processes is crucial.
As a small company, our footprint is relatively small but it’s not just about us. We will push our suppliers to do things differently, bring issues out in the open, and start discussions that lead to positive change. If the wine trade can begin to make this shift, then that’s a win. We hope that others will follow our lead to create new traditions, to safeguard the future not only of wonderful wine but the planet too.
Believe in your goals – Our advice for making sustainable business change is to believe in your goals. For us, the only changes worth making are those that help the climate crisis. We are committed to taking action that reduces our carbon footprint and determined to look at every aspect of our business to reduce our environmental impact.
Find knowledgeable partners – Our Planet Mark certification is invaluable. We could measure energy and emissions ourselves, but Planet Mark provides expert insight that helps when we are scrutinised. We must make genuine changes, not token gestures. Planet Mark gives us confidence that we are doing the right thing and working with them gives us authenticity and evidence that will help us progress.
Share new ideas – Selling these ideas to the board could have been a challenge, but they immediately understood the benefits these changes can bring – not only to the company but to our customers and the planet – and they are happy that we represent environmentally sustainable values. The quality of wine and our environmental values are key priorities.