Fri, Sep 17, 2021 9:02 AM

Sustaining change win for Yealands

The Seaview Restoration Project at Yealands. Photo: Supplied.

Chris Valli

Yealands Wine Group has been named the silver trophy winner in the Best in Biz International Awards 2021.

The Seddon winery was recognised in two categories: Most Environmentally Responsible Company of the Year and Environmental Program of the Year.

The Best in Biz Awards International, is the only independent global business awards program judged each year by prominent editors and reporters from top-tier publications from around the world.

Yealands’ submissions in both categories highlighted specific, practical, and measurable sustainability goals that focus on reducing carbon emissions, increasing biodiversity, restoring native vegetation and watercourses, and reducing and minimising waste.

General Manager Sustainability and Strategic Projects at Yealands, Michael Wentworth, says the sustainable model has been a journey and one that is ongoing with a long-term focus.

Yealands general manager sustainability and strategic projects Michael Wentworth. Photo: Supplied.
Yealands general manager sustainability and strategic projects Michael Wentworth. Photo: Supplied.

“What we have learnt is that you can’t do this by yourself, networking with all parties makes a difference; from packaging to freight to bottling. The biggest change is everyone playing their part in the sustainable model. We are making a difference.

“We launched our sustainability model in 2008 and continue to see carbon emissions reduced by 35 per cent, which is pleasing. We can continue to improve.”

In January 2020 Yealands made a commitment to lower its carbon emissions by 50 per cent by 2030 and to be carbon positive by 2050, after joining International Wineries for Climate Action (IWCA), a collective working group committed to tackling the severity of climate change by creating climate leadership in the wine industry.

Examples of their work in practice included extensive inter-row planting to reduce tractor use, and therefore carbon emissions; a purpose-built composting facility, a large scale intergenerational ecological plan for their Seaview Vineyard, and the introduction of the Yealands Wines Marlborough Sustainability Initiative (YSI), which offers funding to local environmental not-for-profit groups.

Locally, there are a total of 18 not-for profit groups including; Picton Dawn Chorus, Waipupu Wildlife Sanctuary, Tui Nature Reserve Wildlife Trust and the Rainbow Skifield.

The company’s approach has seen the extensive restoration of native vegetation within their vineyards to promote biodiversity. Photo: Supplied.
The company’s approach has seen the extensive restoration of native vegetation within their vineyards to promote biodiversity. Photo: Supplied.

“It’s the sort of work which gets you out of bed and a real motivation to play our part, says Michael.

Yealands Estate Wines launched in August 2008 with the ambition of becoming a world leader in sustainable wine production.

The company’s approach has seen the extensive restoration of native vegetation within their vineyards to promote biodiversity and provide a habitat for native birds and insects, the installation and utilisation of renewable energy initiatives, and integrated pest control measures.

They are the first winery in the world to be Toitū carbonzero certified since inception.

Winners in the 9th annual program were determined based on scoring from an independent panel of judges hailing from a wide spectrum of top-tier publications and media outlets from ten countries.

This year’s judging panel included writers and contributors to such publications as Bloomberg News, Data Breach Today, HTMAG (Israel), Huffington Post, NDR (Germany), Panorama Magazine (United Arab Emirates), Small Business IT (Canada), TechRadar (UK), as well as other outlets from Brazil, Canada, India and the United Kingdom.