**International Wineries for Climate Action: Addressing Climate Change in the Wine Industry**
**A focus on action**
The seeds for International Wineries for Climate Action (IWCA) were planted in 2011 when Miguel Torres, president of Familia Torres Spanish Wine Federation, proposed the initiative Wineries for Climate Protection. However, due to various challenges, the project was put on hold. It wasn’t until a meeting in Brussels between Miguel Torres and Katie Jackson, senior VP of corporate social responsibility at Jackson Family Wines, that the resolve to address climate change in the wine industry was reignited. Thus, IWCA was founded with an international perspective. The organization’s main goal is to reduce carbon emissions in the vineyard and winery, and it focuses on providing a roadmap for better practices.
Membership in IWCA is tiered to accommodate wineries of all sizes and at different stages of sustainability. The organization prohibits the purchasing of offsets, emphasizing transparency among its members. The ultimate goal for members is to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, with an interim target of cutting 50% of emissions by 2030. In 2021, IWCA became the first member in the wine and agriculture sector to join the United Nations Race to Zero campaign. Today, IWCA has grown to include 40 members, with notable additions such as Opus One, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, and Tikveš Winery.
**The evolution of the board**
The IWCA board has evolved over time to ensure impartiality and increased participation. Initially, it consisted of two members each from Familia Torres and Jackson Family Wines. As more wineries joined, the board opened up to new members, enhancing the level of participation and strategic collaboration. Currently, the executive board consists of seven members from different countries.
Additionally, IWCA hired Charlotte Hey as its executive director in November 2022. With a background in wine journalism and extensive experience in the industry, Hey aims to raise IWCA’s profile, increase membership, and foster a sense of cohesion among existing members. The executive team, including Hey, meets biweekly to discuss new strategies, member applications, budgets, and ongoing initiatives.
**Managing international needs**
One of the challenges IWCA faces is striking a balance between its macro vision and meeting the specific needs of its members. The organization’s success metrics are percentage-based, allowing flexibility based on the location and circumstances of each member. Collaboration and collective effort are prioritized over competition among members.
To address wineries’ local needs while fostering a sense of community, IWCA has introduced new tools and resources. Specific calculators for emissions have been developed for the U.S., Australia, and New Zealand. Hey has also initiated knowledge exchange seminars to educate members on topics like biomass boilers and regenerative farming. Efforts are underway to translate materials into multiple languages to accommodate non-English speaking members.
**Looking to the future**
To further its goals, IWCA has introduced two new initiatives. The first is a membership category called IWCA Friend, which aims to involve professionals such as sommeliers, retailers, and importers in the organization’s work. This expansion seeks to bring other sectors of the wine industry into the IWCA fold.
The second initiative is the Country Ambassador Program, where IWCA winery members actively promote the organization’s work and recruit potential new members. For 2023, targeted markets include Chile, Portugal, France, and the Pacific Northwest of the U.S.
Hey is optimistic about the future while acknowledging the challenges ahead. Establishing IWCA as the benchmark for sustainable greenhouse gas emissions is one of those challenges, but Hey believes it can be achieved through collaboration with Race to Zero. The members of IWCA strive to reduce emissions not just for financial gain but also to create a better future for generations to come.