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AUSTRALIAN WINE INDUSTRY RELEASES ENVIRONMENTAL REPORT

WFA media release

The Winemakers Federation of Australia has released the result of 15 months work on environmental compliance for the Australian Wine Industry. "Australia’s wine industry needs to work hard to stay one step ahead of global environmental expectations imposed by governments" said WFA chief executive, Stephen Strachan, when releasing ‘Oiling the Chain: Trends in environmental assurance in key Australian wine export markets’ at Parliament House, Canberra. 'Australia’s environmental performance in the coming years presents opportunities and risks for the industry. Overseas governments, consumers and other parts of the supply chain, especially major retailers, are increasingly demanding minimum standards of environmental assurance from suppliers, including Australian winemakers,” Mr Strachan said. “Oiling the Chain represents the first major audit of these emerging requirements in our key markets and will provide a benchmark to ensure that we meet or exceed such requirements to maximise the available opportunities.” The report, which has been developed over the past 15 months, shows that the benchmark for environmental assurance trends appears to be the European Union, especially the United Kingdom, which is Australia’s biggest wine export market. Five key issues are identified by the report as the leading areas of environmental assurance, namely the management of climate change, biodiversity, water, waste and green procurement. In particular the report finds that climate change “is likely to have greater emphasis and require increased industry responsiveness”. This trend most clearly manifests itself in the increasing push by major retailers to have suppliers demonstrate how their products meet specified environmental standards. “For example, Tesco’s supermarket chain in the UK, who are one of the largest sellers of Australian wines worldwide, has announced an initiative to give a carbon rating to all products sold in its stores,” Mr Strachan explained. “While Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, has commenced a sustainable sourcing initiative that ultimately aims to give preferences to suppliers that aggressively reduce emissions. “Australia’s wine industry is aiming to lead the way in meeting these expectations so we can capitalise on the market opportunities available. To do otherwise would put our $3 billion export industry at risk. “As a result of Oiling the Chain we recognise that reporting of environmental impacts will only increase as markets seek greater transparency and accountability, requiring us to collect robust data on carbon emissions, water usage and other key factors. “Most importantly, we must build on the work of the Eco-Efficiency Agreement we entered into with the Australian Government in 2002 to reduce our environmental footprint so as to clearly demonstrate our environmental credentials.”
Published on 12/04/2007
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