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Bordeaux faces fight to hit emissions target

Fuel required to ship and fly more wine to Asia means Bordeaux winemakers face a tougher task to hit carbon emissions targets, show new figures.

Transport-related carbon emissions have risen by 24% on 2007 levels for Bordeaux’s wine industry, show figures released by the region’s wine council, CIVB.

Extra demand in China and Hong Kong has driven the increase, which threatens to undermine work done to reduce emissions from the winemaking process.

Stéphane Amont, of the Carbon 4 consultancy working with the CIVB on its Carbon Initiative, said, ‘This is essentially airfreight and maritime freight as a result of exports of Bordeaux wine going further than ever. Both of these have doubled since 2007.’

Bordeaux wine’s total carbon footprint in 2012 was still 9% lower than in 2007, at 770,000 tonnes.

The CIVB reported a 22% drop in carbon emissions related to winemaking, including emissions down by one third on glass bottles, due to greater recycling, lighter weight and a 10% drop in bottle use because of a shift to bag-in-box.

But, Bordeaux’s carbon footprint must be 20% below 2007 levels by 2020 if it is to reach the CIVB’s target, set in 2008.

‘Reaching the 2020 target is going to be tough,’ said Jena-Marc Jacovici, also of Carbon 4 and author of the CIVB strategy. ‘The most obvious steps have now been taken. It’s hard to imagine another significant reduction in the carbon footprint of glass bottle production, for example. Now need to look at new methods of doing things.’

Amont highlighted potential financial savings. ‘Since 2008, fuel prices have gone up by 50%, gas prices by 40% and electricity prices by 25%,’ he said. ‘The wine industry in Bordeaux has spent more than EUR200m on these things over the past five years.’

Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux

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