In Alko’s assortment the Green Choice symbols in product markings speak about the commitment of drink producers in environmental and sustainable development. There are seven Green Choice symbols:
- Carbon Neutral
- Environmentally Responsible Packaging
- Natural wine
- Sustainability Certificate and
Biodynamic farming is in many ways comparable to organic farming, as it has the same benefits for the environment. The largest difference is the use of biodynamic products, which are seen to be of help in pest control and vine growth. Biodynamic farming also follows a strict natural rhythm that is based on the Earth’s movements, seasonal changes, the lunar orbit and circadian rhythm.
Demeter certification is the most common global certificate for biodynamically farmed products. All of the biodynamic products in Alko’s selection also have organic certification.
Carbon dioxide emissions from the farming of the ingredients, production, packaging and logistics between these phases have been calculated, emissions have been verifiably reduced and the remaining emissions have been compensated.
In Alko's assortment products that have one of these certificates are marked with Carbon Neutral symbol:
- Carbon Footprint
- Carbon Reduction Institute | NoCO2
- Carbon Trust | Carbon neutral certification
- Climate Active
- ClimatePartner | Climate neutral
- CO2logic | CO2-Neutral
- DNV GL | Garbon Neutrality Protocol
- Natural Capital Partners | CarbonNeutral
- SCS Global Services | Carbon Neutral
- Toitū (ex. CarboNZero)
Environmentally responsible packaging
Packaging material plays a major role in a beverage’s environmental impact. Generally speaking, the lighter the packaging, the smaller its environmental impact. Read more about the environmental impacts of packaging.
Products carrying the environmentally responsible packaging symbol:
- Brewery products: 0.33-litre packages weighing maximum 220 g and 0.5-litre glass bottles weighing maximum 300 g.
- Wines: 0.75-litre glass bottles weighing maximum 420 g.
- Sparkling wines: 0.75-litre glass bottles weighing maximum 835 g.
- Spirits: 0.7-litre glass bottles weighing maximum 450 g.
- Environmentally certified packaging and a certificate of origin for recycled material used in packaging. These can be, for example, FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified bag-in-box cardboard or beverage carton, and the Nordic Swan Ecolabel. Certificates of origin for recycled PET plastic are, for example, the Global Recycled Standard and the Recycled Content Certification.
Examples of good packaging from the climate perspective include cartons and wine bags, as they are lightweight and have a small carbon footprint. They are easy to find in Alko’s selection and are not therefore separately labelled as environmentally friendly packaging.
Natural wines are produced using natural methods and naturally grown ingredients without the use of synthetic chemicals. For example, no synthetic pesticides are used at all. Wine production does not usually use any chemicals either, as natural wines are not clarified, filtered or stabilised. Sulphites (sulphur compounds) are the most common preservative used in wines. Natural wines are either sulphite-free or lower in sulphites than regular wines. Read more about additives or contaminants in alcoholic beverages.
Natural wines are growing in popularity both in Finland and abroad. Consumers are showing greater interest in both production methods and the ingredients and additives used in alcoholic beverages.
There is no common regulation or certification governing natural wines in Europe. However, as of 2020, France has been labelling natural wines as "Vin méthode nature". Alko’s selection of natural wines has been labelled on the basis of the producer’s own declaration.
Organic production seeks to make farmland more fertile and increase biodiversity. In organic production, farmland is better able to bind the carbon dioxide in the air, which also helps to control climate change.
One of the criteria for organic wines is that products must be low in sulphites (that is, sulphur compounds), which are used as preservatives. Organic products also contain lower quantities of contaminants. However, this does not mean that a product carrying the Organic symbol contains no additives or contaminants at all. Read more about additives or contaminants in alcoholic beverages.
The principles of organic cultivation and certification are:
- To maintain the soil’s natural fertility and biodiversity.
- Organic production does not use synthetic chemicals, although natural pesticides are permitted.
- The detergents used at all stages of production must be approved by the EU.
Sustainability Certification indicates that measures have been taken to promote sustainable development during beverage production. The symbol compiles certificates issued internationally or in the country of origin, which account for the principles of sustainable development in both the farming of ingredients and beverage production. The requirements for certification vary between different certifications. However, typical measures in wine cultivation and production include using renewable energy and reducing water and energy consumption.
In Alko's assortment products that have one of these certificates are marked with Sustainability Certificate symbol:
- Bodegas de Argentina Sustainability Protocol (Argentina)
- Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing (California)
- Certified Sustainable Austria (Austria)
- Certified Sustainable Wine of Chile (Chile)
- Equalitas (Italy)
- Fair’n’Green (international)
- Haute Valeur Environnementale (France)
- Integrity and Sustainability Certified (South Africa)
- Sustainability In Practice SIP Certified (California)
- Sustainable Winegrowing Australia/Freshcare (Australia)
- Sustainable Winegrowing NZ (New Zealand)
- Sustainable Winegrowing (Vignerons en Développement Durable) (France)
- Terra Vitis (France)
- Wineries for Climate Protection (WfCP) (Spain)
- VIVA Sustainability in Italian Wine Sector (Italy)
Vegan beverages contain no animal-based ingredients, and no animal-based components or materials are used in their production. For example, standard wine production may use gelatin, egg, isinglass or casein (animal-based protein) in the clarification process. Read more about vegan wines.
There are no internationally controlled standards or certificates for vegan products. Alko’s selection of vegan products has been labelled on the basis of the producer’s own declaration.