Chile’s wineries lead nation on path toward sustainability

The country that produced the continent’s first zero carbon emission wine is now taking strides to reduce its carbon footprint in the retail and banking industries.

Maybe it’s because they rely so intimately on nature’s bounty, or maybe it just makes good business sense – whatever the reasons, Chilean wine producers are at the forefront of a growing environmental consciousness within the country’s business community.
Addressing one of the great global environmental concerns of the modern era, pioneering vineyards have established effective ways of measuring carbon footprints, and taken steps towards creating a zero-emission industry.
Chile’s most famous vineyard, Concha y Toro, has been calculating its CO2 output since 2007, as part of its long-term goal of producing completely sustainable wines of the highest quality.
The company’s early start in the practice of carbon measurement has allowed it to release its first 100 percent carbon neutral wine, “Sunrise,” which it exports around the world.
“This is a global trend, in which our clients played a fundamental role by asking for more and more information, with a higher level of detail,” said deputy manager Valentina Lira. “This prompted us to act and to take a complete carbon footprint measurement at a very early stage by the standards of the sector.”
Chile is also home to the first vineyard in Latin America to produce a carbon-neutral wine, the “Nuevo Mundo” (“New World”) line, which De Martino launched in 2009.
De Martino has been monitoring its carbon emissions since 2007, the year it became a member of The Carbon Reduction Institute, represented in Chile by Green Solutions.
And more recently, the example set by these pioneering businesses has begun to rub off on the business community at large, in such diverse sectors as the forestry, energy and now banking and retail industries.
In 2010, for example, Chilean retail giant Sodimac became the first company in its sector to have an carbon emission assessment of all its operations.
The company has used the information to implement a carbon offset program, financing projects like the reforestation of 16,000 trees in the Metropolitan Park of Santiago.
And as consumers around the world continue to demand that business clean up its act, it’s a trend that looks set to continue.