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Climate Change Leadership highlights action and importance of ‘sharing’

Published:  07 March, 2019

The 2019 Climate Change Leadership Conference - Solutions for the Wine Industry, kicked off yesterday with key industry figures and experts taking to the stage to highlight and share actions taken to mitigate global warming.

The first day of the second edition of the event, which is dedicated to the discussion of climate change response measures, especially those related to the wine industry, saw some of the world’s foremost wine climatologists host a selection of winery executives, whose companies have significantly contributed to better understanding how the wine sector can mitigate and adapt to climate change through numerous sustainability efforts.

In addition, it was discussed how growers are working towards increasing their adaptive capacity while reducing vulnerability in a rapidly changing climate.

Companies at the forefront of mitigating climate change, which shared insights into what their wineries are doing to become ‘greener’, included Concha y Toro (Gerard Casaubon), Sogrape (Antonio Graça), LVMH (Margareth Henriquez) and Familia Torres (Miguel Torres), the latter which last week revealed it has partnered with Jackson Family in its latest bid to to fight climate change, something Miquel Torres said the company has already invested more than €15 million in (R&D).

Covering a wide spectrum of sustainability actions taken, key topics compromised conservation initiatives, changes to viticultural practices, increased use of native varieties and improved clonal selection, CO2 capture, improvements to the supply chain and water management and clean energy.

Recognising that many individuals and companies were “already doing a great deal and have been working to tackle the problems for years”, Adrian Bridge, chief executive of The Fladgate partnership (a headline sponsor and co-organiser of the event) took the opportunity to reinforce that, in order to move forward, it was now “time to share out information and to learn from each other”.

"New ideas are coming up all the time, but we can't wait for some magic solution to appear and thereby avoid the hard work and the hard chases. The mitigation challenge we face is a very tough one and it’s getting tougher," he added.

“The industry is all the way agricultural and therefore is the most vulnerable to climate change. We need to find solutions and show other companies how they can do more.”

The event concludes today (7 March), following an update on the Porto Protocol - a far-reaching charter designed to encourage the wine trade to step up to the pressing challenge of helping mitigate further change and adapt to ongoing global warming, with a much anticipated speech by former US vice president Al Gore, following in the footsteps of last year’s keynote speaker, Barack Obama, who inaugurated the first Climate Change Leadership Conference.

Summing up the industry’s impact on climate change, Pau Roca, director general of the International Organisation of Vine and Wine, said: “The wine industry can’t save the world on its own, but it can be a doorway to change. We are small but we can be an example.”