Global conglomerates are coming under increasing pressure to switch to sustainable business practices. In the wine industry, there has been a steady transition from old production methods to sustainable winemaking, intending to produce the lowest emissions possible. Treasury Wine Estates (TWE), a wine producer with vineyards stretching from Napa Valley, California, to Victoria, Australia, is taking up this challenge and meeting the adversity head-on with resounding success.
TWE began in 1843 in New South Wales, Australia, as a family vineyard. By 1876, the business established a vineyard in Napa. By 1975, it had two more California vineyards, one in New Zealand, and several across Australia. The company makes popular wine brands like Beringer, Penfold’s, Rutherford Valley, and 19 Crimes. Formerly a Foster’s beverage group member, the winemaker is now a private entity and has been increasing its subsidiaries. Even its immense growth has not stopped TWE from pursuing sustainability initiatives.
Like many alcoholic beverage distributors and producers, TWE has been implementing sustainable methods on top of its other goals.
By 2024, the firm hopes its vineyards will run on 100% renewable energy, with the greater challenge of reaching net-zero emissions by 2030.
Last year, the business received a 96.7% recycling rate in its sustainability report, a high mark for a company spread across three continents. TWE plans to use only 100% reusable, recyclable, or compostable packaging for products in 2022.
TWE also has plans for energy use in its winemaking process. “We’re making strides in all these areas to achieve our global sustainability targets, which include switching to 100% renewable electricity by 2024 and net zero emissions by 2030,” TWE told Consensus. So far, it has done a solid job at ramping up this initiative. The Australian vineyards will be run entirely on solar energy by 2024. There are plans to install up to 9,500 new solar panels at the Barossa Winery and Production Centre in South Australia and Karadco Winery in Victoria, achieving the largest winery solar system in Australia. In addition, the Napa Valley and Melbourne corporate headquarters are powered by 100% renewable energy, and the goal is to have 29,000 solar panels across all wineries under TWE’s leadership.
TWE hasn’t had to go about this sustainability transition alone. The company recently joined the RE100, an international organization dedicated to helping businesses switch to renewable electricity.
TWE has been praised for making this transition to solar energy, with RE100 coordinator John Dee saying, “Vineyards have always relied on the sun to produce the grapes for wine. It makes business sense for TWE to go the next step and use the sun to power the facilities that turn their grapes into wines.” TWE has also received assistance from energy firms like Shell to help construct the solar farms in their vineyards.
Sustainability isn’t the only initiative TWE is implementing. The firm is dedicated to inclusion and diversity in corporate leadership as well. “Our Americas Leadership Team encompasses a diverse range of individuals and is over 50% female. Additionally, over the last 18 months, we’ve created an Inclusion, Equity, and Diversity Council, which includes several Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) across the divisions and regions we operate in,” the company explained.
The goal is to have 50% women-led vineyards by 2025 and 42% overall female representation within the company’s hierarchy. So far, it’s working well for Kirsten Gray, the new chief corporate services officer of TWE, overseeing these transitions to clean energy.
TWE is setting an example for all wineries hoping to reach sustainability goals by the end of the decade. It’s no easy task being a global wine firm, but with the backing of the RE100 and energy companies, TWE is forging a path forward.