Thursday, 10 September 2020 08:44

Sustainability guardians

Written by  Sophie Preece
Fromm Winery. Fromm Winery.

Environmental champions step up to challenge.

New Zealand Winegrowers is calling on teams of Sustainability Guardians to help “promote and foster innovation” in the wine industry. General Manager Sustainability, Dr Edwin Massey, says the new Guardians programme is open to all members who want to “go further” in ensuring a more sustainable winery, vineyard or wine company operation.

“They want to do more. They want to implement best practice and they want all the new ideas.”

Those ideas will come from other industry players who are ahead of the game, but also from experts in business, within central and regional government, and across supply chains, “who can really add to our sustainable practices”, says Edwin.

The voluntary extension programme will replace the Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand (SWNZ) Continuous Improvement Programme, giving wine growers the opportunity to share insights into their biggest challenges, along with their sustainability success stories. There will be no barriers to entry into the programme, which is free and based on NZW’s six focus areas of sustainability, including soil, climate change, and waste.

It’s a model already tested by a Marlborough wine industry group (read: Delving into waste yields sweet results), which is working collaboratively to improve waste management, from utilising winery lees in vineyards to improving the storage and disposal of CCA treated posts, while also analysing the environmental cost of other post options. 

That group, which began through the Continuous Improvement Programme, has been an excellent example of collaborative improvement, says Edwin. It’s also been an important resource in the development of new vineyard post storage guidelines, which are soon to be released.

“That really got us thinking that we could do that across the range of the six focus areas”.

He is hoping to see a strong Climate Change Guardians group emerge, to help NZW deliver on its commitment to the industry being carbon zero ahead of the Government’s 2050 deadline.

As well as hearing from others and developing best practice, the Sustainability Guardians Programme is about highlighting amazing achievements, he says. “There are some really great sustainability stories out there, and we want to make recognition easier, and to identify champions, either in a focus area or in overall sustainability.” In 2021 Edwin hopes to launch the Sustainability Guardians awards, “recognising those who are really making a difference”. 

• To find out more or to register as a guardian, go to the Sustainability tab at

» Latest Print Issues Online


Perfect pivots — Editorial

Perfect pivots — Editorial

Misha Wilkinson’s description of “pirouetting” through Covid-19 seems apt, given the industry’s need to stay on its toes throughout this…

Save our soils — Editorial

Save our soils — Editorial

There’s been something of a makeover in New Zealand vineyards in recent years, as the clean-cut look of sprayed rows…

Popular Reads

Wineries set for seismic shakes

Four years after the Kaikōura earthquake, Marlborough wineries are far better prepared for a big shake, says structural engineer Will…