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International Wineries for Climate Action Joins Global ‘Race to Zero’

IWCA becomes the first member of Race to Zero — a UN-backed, global campaign to rally all-sector leadership and support for a healthy, resilient, zero-carbon future — representing the wine and ag industries.

International Wineries for Climate Action (IWCA) has joined the Race to Zero campaign — a United Nations-backed, global effort to rally leadership and support from businesses, cities, regions and investors for a healthy, resilient, zero-carbon recovery that prevents future threats, creates decent jobs and unlocks inclusive, sustainable growth. IWCA becomes the first Race to Zero member representing the wine and agricultural industry.

Launched on World Environment Day 2020 (June 5), Race to Zero aims to build momentum around the shift to a decarbonized economy ahead of COP26 in November, where governments must strengthen their contributions to the Paris Agreement. All Race to Zero members are credibly committed to the same overarching goal: halving emissions by 2030 and achieving net zero emissions by 2050, at the very latest. To date, the campaign has mobilized a coalition of entities with net-zero initiatives that represent more than 12 percent of the global economy — including 471 cities, 1,675 companies, 569 universities, and 85 investors.

“Whilst the wine industry is responsible for few emissions, it is one of the agricultural activities most affected by global climate change,” said Nigel Topping, UK High Level Climate Champion for COP26. “We are delighted to welcome International Wineries for Climate Action into the Race to Zero, and applaud their ambition to become Climate Positive by 2050.”

Founded in 2019 by renowned Spanish winemaker Familia Torres and Jackson Family Wines (JFW) — one of the US’ largest wine producers, and the largest owner of coastal vineyards in California and Oregon — IWCA is a collaborative working group addressing climate change through innovative carbon-reduction strategies. IWCA’s objective for all members is to achieve a 50 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 and to become climate positive by 2050 for Scopes 1-3 emissions. To bolster these efforts, IWCA recently released a Soil Health Report for its members that provides a detailed summary of research and best practices that IWCA member wineries are implementing to promote soil health and vineyard carbon sequestration.

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By joining the Race to Zero, IWCA will become a facilitator and champion within the wine and agricultural industries to build momentum and support for immediate solutions that help move wine producers and vineyard owners closer to becoming climate positive. IWCA — currently comprised of 10 wineries from Australia, Chile, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain and the US — says it will also publish an annual report showing progress on its member wineries’ GHG emissions status and goals, which is required by Race to Zero. 

Gonzalo Munoz, Chilean High Level Climate Champion for COP25, stated: “As a winemaker myself, I have a deep love and appreciation for this industry. It brings me great joy to see wineries across the world coming together as the first initiative of the agriculture sector in the Race to Zero emissions, and I look forward to more companies engaging with nature-based solutions in our journey to net zero.”

According to Julien Gervreau, VP of Sustainability at Jackson Family Wines, the winemaker has been measuring its carbon footprint since 2008; and has reduced absolute greenhouse gas emissions across Scopes 1-3 by 17.5 percent since 2015. Following that progress, JFW committed to cut carbon emissions in half by 2030 and become climate positive by 2050, without the purchase of offsets.

“For us, this is one of the biggest initiatives our company has ever undertaken and involves every aspect of our business, from light-weighting our wine bottles, transitioning to more electric vehicles, and our significant investment in renewable energy,” Gervreau said. “As the largest generator of onsite solar energy in the US wine industry, Jackson Family Wines produces 8.6 million kWh of emissions free, renewable electricity across 12 wineries — offsetting ~1,100 homes’ worth of annual electricity use.”

Looking forward, Gervreau says Jackson Family Wines is developing bold resiliency goals for 2030 and beyond to demonstrate agriculture’s ability to create positive outcomes — with a focus on regenerative farming practices, holistic land management, water stewardship and social impact.

IWCA is open to any wine company that views climate change as a serious threat and has demonstrated a commitment to help mitigate it.

Learn how your winery can qualify for IWCA membership here.

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