Former US president Barack Obama has used a climate change summit in Porto to urge the wine industry to work together more, and called on businesses to help shape government policy on the issue.
Business should unite to share ideas and exert influence over governments about climate change, said Barack Obama at a summit in Porto dominated by wine industry delegates.
‘For winemakers to share best practice in the face of rising temperatures makes perfect sense,’ said Obama, speaking on Friday 6 July.
Technological solutions are often out there, ‘but how we organise ourselves is a problem’, said the former US president.
‘Too late, and the solutions are sub-optimal,’ he warned.
He and other speakers attended to help launch the ‘Porto Protocol’, a wine industry-led initiative.
Adrian Bridge, CEO of The Fladgate Partnership, which includes summit co-organiser Taylor’s Port, described the protocol as ‘a binding commitment to make a greater contribution to mitigating climate change’.
Signatories will create a platform to share experiences and solutions, ‘because there is no time to reinvent the wheel’, Bridge added.
Obama’s comments about the role of business come amid a turbulent political and media environment with regard to climate change.
Commenting on US president Donald Trump’s plan to withdraw the from the 2015 Paris climate agreement, Obama said that, ‘even if there is a rolling back of regulations, they have been adopted by commercial interests who see them as good business sense.’
Turning to the rise of alternative media and alternative facts, Obama observed that ‘people are losing confidence in what they see on TV and don’t trust the internet’. He urged industry to publicise climate change’s future impact and develop an ‘invest now, save later’ attitude to costs and prices.
Bridge said that a wine industry-focused Climate Change Leadership Solutions Conference will be held in Oporto on 6 and 7 March 2019. Representatives from across the supply chain, including retailer Marks & Spencer, will discuss ‘concrete ideas [and] real solutions that work on whatever scale,’ he said.
Editing by Chris Mercer