Acting on climate change

Look to the future: our Climate and Nature Programme explained

Dom de Ville, our Director of Sustainability and Social Impact, explains how The Wine Society is launching a new programme to tackle carbon emissions and biodiversity loss in partnership with our growers.

Look to the future: our Climate and Nature Programme explained

Challenging times for winemakers

We hear all the time from our growers about how growing grapes is becoming harder and more technical day-by-day. Much of the reason for this is the world’s changing climate, which brings with it ever more extremes – whether that’s temperature, droughts and floods, pests and diseases or simply unpredictability.

At The Wine Society, we’re always looking for practical ways to help. We want to play our small part in enabling our producers to become more resilient, more financially sustainable and part of the solution to the climate and nature challenges we face.

What are we doing?

In 2022, we reduced carbon emissions from our direct operations (known as Scope 1 & 2) by 29% and are working hard to achieve our goal of halving total emissions by 2032. But we want to go further. In our Carbon Roadmap we also committed to investing in mitigating carbon emissions. This is a process called ‘insetting’: where instead of paying into an external carbon offsetting scheme to be carbon neutral, we’ll invest the equivalent funds back into our own supply chain, directly supporting our growers instead.

So, in March 2024, as part of our 150th anniversary celebrations, we are launching a Climate and Nature Programme – an annually renewed £60,000 pot of money that our growers can access to spend on nature-based projects in their vineyards. This can be anything from planting trees and hedgerows in and around vineyards, to adopting more regenerative farming practices that promote biodiversity and mitigate carbon emissions.

Why have we chosen this type of programme?

Mass agriculture – including viticulture – is one of the key drivers of climate change and biodiversity loss globally, but it also offers one of the greatest opportunities to help slow climate change, and even reverse it. Keeping soils healthy could be a key climate change solution – the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has estimated that soil carbon sequestration (a way of managing land so that the soil absorbs more carbon) has the potential to compensate 27% of agricultural greenhouse gas emissions annually.

What will our programme support?

In light of these findings, the Climate and Nature Programme fund will provide support for our suppliers wishing to take measures in and around their vineyards that:

  • Sequester additional carbon dioxide from the atmosphere
  • Boost and restore biodiversity – above and below ground
  • Increase the resilience of their grape production to climate change

This might include the planting of trees and hedgerows around vineyards, conservation and restoration projects or the long-term implementation of regenerative agricultural practices. No vineyard is the same, so our growers can decide on the specifics of what will work best for their vineyard.

Applications will close in spring and a team of expert judges will select the most exciting entries, considering things like the impact the project is likely to have, whether the project will be collaborative with other growers and the long term plan this project is likely to be a part of. We’ll be sure to keep our members updated on the winners and the projects we support, so stay tuned for more!

Find out more about sustainability at The Wine Society.

Dom de Ville

Director of sustainability and social impact

Dom de Ville

Dom, our director of sustainability and social impact, has overall responsibility and accountability for our sustainability plan, and has been involved in sustainability for most of his 20-year career, including ten years in international development.

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