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Tropentag 2022, September 14 - 16, Prague, Germany

"Can agroecological farming feed the world? Farmers' and academia's views."

Comparison of voluntary certificates as promoters of sustainability in wine industry

Teresa Latorre Carrascosa, Raúl Compés, Victor Martinez-Gomez

Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV), Department of Economics and Social Sciences (DECS-UPV), Spain


Agri-food systems are among the most significant contributors to global warming, but at the same time, agriculture is deeply affected by climate change. In addition, all sectors are forced to adapt to the new environmental conditions to maintain production and ensure its durability in the future. Furthermore, they must have reduced their greenhouse gas emissions to align within the Paris Agreement and contribute to the accomplishment of the objectives set out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The wine sector is one of the agri-food sectors most affected by climate change. Grape and wine production is extremely sensitive to environmental conditions and, in the worst case scenario, climate change might dramatically alter the current geography of the global wine industry.

This communication analyses - through a comparison of voluntary certificates and sustainability assessment programs across different countries - the response of the wine sector to these challenges.

The results reveal that one of the most important tools are the voluntary sustainability certificates. Parallel to the growth of other certifications such as organic or biodynamic, national and regional private sustainability standards have been created. In each country they have a different origin and evolution, but in general, all of them have in common an important participation of private sector and the collaboration between entities across different areas. Even though in their origins they were very different, a certain convergence is taking place in the last years, particularly in their environmental dimension.

Until recently, this expansion of sustainability certificates in the wine sector was more evident in the ‘New World’ producer countries than in Europe, where advances in sustainability were more linked to public regulations or individual initiatives, rather than to the creation of collective or standardised programs at national level.

This analysis is useful to understand the status and opportunities to promote and implement sustainability strategies in the wine sector, but also to understand the limitations and complexity of voluntary certifications to attract a large number of companies, and therefore, transform the major sustainability goals into operational strategies to the implementation possibilities of the different agricultural sectors.

Keywords: Certification, global wine-growing, mitigation, sustainability, wine

Contact Address: Teresa Latorre Carrascosa, Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV), Department of Economics and Social Sciences (DECS-UPV), Camino de vera s/n, 46022  Valencia, Spain, e-mail: telacar@upv.es

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