#nofilter: A world of eco certifications

Among the group of new environmental product information we have included sustainability certifications granted in the production countries of wines around the world. It is a collection of certificates earned by sustainability work but do they have anything in common? How do you know which one of them is the most environmentally friendly of all?

The requirements of local eco certifications in wine production may vary in different countries, but relevant issues in viticulture and wine making are typically things like saving water and energy, using renewable energy and treatment of the bio waste that is an output of the process. These are all issues for which there are no requirements or standpoint in organic production or certifications.

Alko relies on those experts who were involved when local certifications each were developed to have had the best knowledge of specific local conditions, and commitment to sustainability and best possible outcome. Our opinion is also that due to the differences between wine regions – geography and climate conditions – comparing the certificates to each other, or an attempt to rank them, are not needed.

However, in the beginning of our ”Eko” project we wanted to ensure that the local eco labels do fulfil the criteria that were important from Alko’s perspective. We contacted all the national or state level wine industry eco certifiers we had identified, and asked them to confirm to us certain principles of their certification scheme. Only after we received the verification was the certification in question added on our listing. During the project also the wine importers who operationally are our source of product information had the possibility to propose additional certifications (and they still do, and all will be verified in the same manner).

At the time of the ”Eko” launch Alko has approved local eco certifications for wines from South Africa, Chile, Italy, Austria, California (two different ones), France (two different ones), Germany and New Zealand. Bringing the existence of local eco certifications into the product information is our ‘chapeau’ – hats-off – to the efforts of the producers but also to the fact that wine making as an industry has been able to give birth to these country or state wide standards. It has required a tremendous amount of holistic understanding and prioritization but certainly also compromises to fit together different views of complex issues.

Does an eco-labeling effect your choice between otherwise similar products? You are welcome to join discussion in Alko’s Twitter @Alko_Sustain.