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Miguel A. Torres urges more wineries to join the fight against climate change

Miguel A. Torres has called upon wine producers around the world to join forces in a bid to fight back against the climate crisis.

In 2019, the Familia Torres president teamed up with Katie Jackson – the senior vice president of corporate social responsibility at Jackson Family Wines in California – to create a group called International Wineries for Climate Action (IWCA).

They aimed to recruit the world’s most environmentally-committed wineries, who would work collaboratively on schemes designed to reduce carbon emissions.

The group now consists of 41 wineries, representing 10 countries across the globe, but Torres wants to see more producers join the movement.

‘Often I am asked, what is the biggest challenge the wine sector is facing, and my answer is always without any doubt: climate change,’ said Torres, who is a fourth-generation family member at the esteemed Spanish winery.

‘Hopefully now with the extreme drought and heat waves in many parts of the world, more people start to realise that something is going on, or actually going really wrong.

‘It has become clear that climate change – or better to say, climate crisis – is a much bigger threat to mankind than Covid, and if immediate measures are not taken, the world in general, but especially viticulture, will be heading for big problems and changes.

‘Therefore, we must accelerate the decarbonisation of our world economy, and it is crucial that more action is taken, in all parts of the world, on every level, in every sector and of course also in the wine sector.’

IWCA recently joined Race to Zero, a global campaign to rally leadership and support from businesses and world leaders for a healthy, resilient, zero carbon recovery that prevents future threats, creates jobs, and unlocks inclusive, sustainable growth.

Members of IWCA share data and insights, helping them to develop sustainable practices and reduce their carbon footprint.

The group also teaches members how to measure greenhouse gas emissions through detailed inventories, and it provides a roadmap for reducing them.

It has developed three emissions calculators for wineries based in Australia, New Zealand and the United States, using region-specific emissions factors.

All new members are required to carry out inventories, and IWCA works with accredited auditors to ensure a robust standard in measurement and accounting is upheld.

The ISO-14064-3 accredited auditors also verify that wineries are achieving consistent emissions reductions over time.

Membership is open to any winery that is willing to take strategic action to accelerate innovative climate solutions.

Current members include iconic producers such as Ridge Vineyards in California, Felton Road in New Zealand and Champagne Lanson, plus large companies like Constellation Brands, Yealands, Sogrape, Symington, CVNE and Ramón Bilbao.

‘It is great to see how IWCA has grown and evolved, but we need more wineries to join,’ said Torres, who also manages the family-owned company’s vineyards in Chile and collaborates with his sister, Marimar Torres, in California.

‘It is crucial to decarbonisation, and together we should all make an extra effort to still try to fulfil the 2015 Paris agreement: to reduce the rise in temperatures to a maximum of between 1.5°C and 2°C by the end of the century.

‘It is crucial that more action is taken so that together we can put a stop to this madness that will make our earth almost uninhabitable at the end of this century.’

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