Our carbon footprint is still relatively small, but as we increase the number of concession sites it is important to begin to record our impact. This has been one of the key driving factors in our decision to sign up to the charter; a way to measure the environmental impact of our growth. Currently all staff either walk, cycle or use an electric vehicle to commute to work. Local deliveries are by EV or powered cycles. National deliveries by DHL would be the most significant area requiring a CO2 offset.
Staff welfare & progression
As we look to bring on more staff to administer the concessions it is important to us that our current best practice is documented Currently staff are encouraged to sit WSET and take advantage of trade tasting and estate visits.
Use of renewables
Our main use of renewables is via EV deliveries. Our energy use (save for a small amount of gas for the hob & oven at the deli) is all electric and where commercially viable sourced from renewable sources. The main store is heated by infrared eco-heaters.
Packaging is almost solely via winebox. We do not buy any polystyrene, bubble wrap or plastic (including bags). All polystyrene and bubble wrap packaging is reused for national deliveries. All cardboard and recycled waste is via a local independent firm to ensure it is recycled and not sent overseas.
Community focused activities
Community focused activities are centred around wine education and discussions about responsible alcohol consumption, prior to Covid this has included Year 13s at partner schools. We continue to support local charities and events and have been the wine partner for the Norfolk Show Ball since 2006. For several years we have supported various initiatives and worked with Jake Humphrey, Norwich City FC, Matt Windle CEO Lotus. We continue to work with Aviva, Marsh and, up until its exit from the city, Unilever.
Supply chain partners
The main partners are the national agencies and we do not expect that to change in the near future. We continue to monitor their sustainability credentials and would react if we felt they were out of line with our own ethos.
We have discussed who best to include a sustainable factor in our buying decision and as a direct result of this charter have agreed to use the somewhat defunct ‘initial 10 or 50 points’ in the 20 or 100 point scale to recognise a product’s sustainable credentials. To clarify, the first 50% of a score is usually ‘is this a bad wine’. Almost no wine imported to the UK by the agencies we work with that would come to our attention would ever not get over this threshold, therefore making it somewhat obsolete. When making buying decisions we will now score the wine initially out of 10 for sustainable credentials - heavy bottles we are coming for you!
Looking ahead, what are the longer-term company goals?
Measuring our sustainability should be tool that can generate a positive impact to our balance sheet. I want our profitability to be intrinsically linked to sustainability, measured in our management accounts and attributed to the three Ps; People, Planet, Profit. As a SME we are just at the start of this journey, so it’s important to draw a line in the sand and measure the impact of future growth. We intend to identify which areas of our five-year business plan currently fall outside of our sustainable strategies and work to bring them in line with the overall plan. If there is one area we can focus on immediately, it would be ‘drink responsibly’. Independents are best placed to promote ‘drink less but better’. We have made significant changes to our online offering, eliminating shipping widely nationally available, everyday wines outside of our region. That is not to say we only deliver locally, but encourage via our marketing material that national customers try something different. This can be measured in customer acquisition numbers and daily courier stats. I would like to see a more Interflora model for everyday wines alongside the positive messages around enjoying food and wine together. Waste management is key, maximising all recycling activities at every point and continuing to work with like-minded companies to reuse rather than just recycle (specific reference to greenbottleglass.com and cork upcycling from our events and trade samples). Last, but not least are our own products. We continue to use recycled eco-pouches for our own wine projects and increase the offering in alternative formats to glass bottles, including a new cardboard bottle. For a small business, innovation is the way to offer real solutions to the global environmental challenge. Finally, we are keen to work collaboratively to achieve our objectives, this year we will be working with two crypto based platforms, one on alternative payment and nationwide deliveries [referred to above as the Interflora model] and the other on NFTs to record data from our activities and store within the blockchain. Our aim is for our next vintage (2022) to be released via an NFT and recorded on the blockchain.