British Columbians who love a glass of B.C. wine and support environmentally responsible businesses have easy choices ahead, as a new sustainability certification program for B.C. grape growers and wineries will put those green standards right on the label.
Sustainable Winegrowing B.C. (SWBC), a program of the British Columbia Wine Grape Council, is developing the certification program. Participation in this program will allow B.C. to highlight the integrity and credibility of the provincial wine industry, and increase competitiveness of B.C. wine with other top wine-growing regions around the world.
SWBC has already established an online self-assessment tool that allows growers and wineries to view their sustainability performance. The new certification program will take the next step in maintaining and enhancing public trust, with robust and verifiable outcomes and indicators. The certification program will include a sustainability advisor assisting growers and wineries in their application for certification.
Industry has led SWBC’s development for nearly a decade, with the goal of reducing the environmental footprint, while maintaining and enhancing public trust. The SWBC oversight committee includes B.C. viticulturists, winemakers, hospitality directors, researchers, and sustainability and marketing specialists.
The sustainable certification program is receiving $100,000 in cost-shared funding from the governments of Canada and B.C., through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. The five-year, $3-billion Canadian Agricultural Partnership, launched on April 1, 2018, includes $2 billion in cost-shared strategic initiatives delivered by the provinces and territories, and $1 billion for federal programs and services. The Canadian Agricultural Partnership replaces Growing Forward 2, the five-year federal-provincial agreement that ended on March 31, 2018.
Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada –
“The Government of Canada is proud to support this new certification program, which will help B.C. wine gain a new competitive edge in international markets. Highlighting the sector’s sustainable management practices will enhance public trust, and have a beneficial impact on the environment while also strengthening the Canadian economy.”
Lana Popham, B.C. Minister of Agriculture –
“This new sustainability certification program will maintain the sector’s competitiveness, increase consumer confidence in B.C.’s award-winning wine, and minimize the environmental footprint of our wine industry. I am keen to continue to work with B.C. grape growers and winemakers, to help them build their markets and their businesses in a sustainable, thoughtful manner.”
Karen Gillis, chair, Sustainable Winegrowing B.C. –
“Sustainable Winegrowing B.C. is looking forward to developing the certification program, through support from the Ministry of Agriculture. I would like to thank Minister Popham and her staff, for the vision to foster sustainable farming in British Columbia. The positive impacts on environmental, financial, and social aspects for individual vineyards and wineries, and the industry as a whole, will contribute immensely to our long-term sustainability.”
British Columbia Wine Grape Council: http://www.bcwgc.org/
Sustainable Winegrowing British Columbia: https://sustainablewinegrowingbc.ca/
Canadian Agricultural Partnership: http://www.agr.gc.ca/eng/about-us/key-departmental-initiatives/canadian-agricultural-partnership/