“The renewal of the Wineries For Climate Protection to Segura Viudas is another step in the environmental management that we have applied for 20 years”

We make eco of the interview of Corresponsables to Gloria Martí, Head of Environment of the Freixenet Group

Gloria Martí, Head of the Environment of the Freixenet Group, talks with Coresponsible about the Wineries For Climate Protection accreditation obtained by Segura Viudas as well as about the company’s corporate social responsibility and sustainability policies.

Segura Viudas has renewed the Wineries For Climate Protection accreditation for the third time. What meaning does this recognition have for the winery?

The Wineries For Climate Protection certificate was born as a concern of wineries to recognize all the efforts, above all, of environmental sustainability in the sector. The wineries are very concerned about climate change and environmental issues in general. What we did was meet within the framework of the Spanish Wine Federation and create this certificate with the help of the Spanish Association for Standardization (AENOR), since we saw that AENOR would help us create a standard and take this journey.

This scheme was prepared with all the environmental technicians from the different wineries. In the case of Segura Viudas, what this has meant is yet recognition of the effort we have been making for some time. Let us remember that the Wineries focus mainly on four pillars: energy efficiency, climate change, waste management, and water consumption; I mean, we wanted to touch everything a bit. Although the name says “For Climate Protection”, we are not just dealing with emissions, but we try to extend it to all those aspects that can impact the environment, such as water, energy and waste.

It is a commitment to continue with our commitment to the winery. In our case, the Segura Viudas winery has had an environmental management system for 20 years, according to the ISO 14001 standard, and this was one more step. Keep improving in favor of sustainability and the environment.

You have achieved this increase in the score of these four pillars that you were talking about. What specific good practices have you implemented in each of these pillars?

This is a certificate in which you have to continuously improve, it is like the environmental certificate of continuous improvement. We wanted to do the Wineries certificate in a similar way, you have to improve the score in different environmental aspects until you reach a reduction in the four pillars of 20%. We will be introducing improvements in the certificate because it is being renewed and improved.

Regarding specific measures that we have been carrying out in our winery, the greatest consumption that a winery has is in the cold, in all aspects of refrigeration, especially wine. This has been one of the points that we have carried out with tank isolation, trying to reduce our impact. In this last day there have been reductions of about 51,000 kW of energy, which represents about 15,000 kg of CO2.

A reconversion of all the lighting has been made, in the wineries there is a lot of surface because it has cellars, you need 9 months of aging in the cellars, which means that there are many square meters and there is a lot of lighting. There has also been a conversion of traditional lighting by LED lighting, in that many improvements are being made at a technological level that have meant, for example, a reduction of 92,000 kW, which is an important milestone. All the energy consumed in Segura Viudas, actually in all the group companies, is renewable energy. The use of green energy has meant 1,437 tons of reduction.

Regarding the issue of waste, we have focused, above all, on reducing sewage sludge. Sludge is an important waste in our winery, management has been improved to reduce it and these improvements have led to a 41% reduction in the sludge produced.

Significant efforts have also been made to remove all packaging waste. We try that all the material we receive is reused. For example, the caps arrive to us in containers that we then return to the supplier, we have been with this circular economy with our waste for a long time.

And regarding water, we have done a study of the water footprint on a small scale, we have not yet certified it. Possibly the certification of the water footprint is the next step to know exactly where we can influence to reduce our consumption more and more.

The company has obtained the international Save Travels certification as a guarantee of compliance with the protocols in prevention measures against COVID-19. What actions have you taken to face the crisis caused by the coronavirus?

I would like to highlight that, in terms of tourism, Segura Viudas has been working for a long time to be more and more sustainable and increasingly concerned about the quality of what it teaches. In this regard, it has a distinctive called Biosphere Sustainability Commitment that is committed to sustainable and quality wine tourism.

This seal is also one more step to demonstrate our commitment to sustainability and to be able to show it to all our visitors. Sometimes companies keep the information and I think that your magazine also helps to disseminate this type of sustainability actions, such as the Biosphere Sustainability, which what it does is guarantee sustainable tourism.

One more step so that the visits that come to Segura Viudas were not only quality visits, but also that they were safe in the current framework in which we are. We obtained this certificate, the Safe Travels granted by the World Travel & Tourism Council and, basically, what we do is, on the one hand, promote sustainability with a visit to nature, to the surroundings of the cellars; you take a walk along the Bitlles riverbed to see the flora and fauna of that environment. The tour is done with a guide who shows you the area, with which, being outdoors, the risk is greatly minimized. Then all the current security protocols are also applied: distance, mask, hygiene, common areas, gels … a lot of emphasis is placed on all this to all our visits.

What other social responsibility actions are you carrying out?

In the framework of the Wineries For Climate Protection certificate, we have seen that it is a certificate that is very focused on the environmental issue, environmental sustainability. Now, within the framework of the Wineries, we are working on expanding it, not only to environmental indicators, but also to social, gender, human rights issues… to all the “legs” that make up corporate social responsibility. We have a very strong core, which is the issue of the environment, but now at the sectoral level we want to expand it.

Regarding Segura Viudas, as I have commented, we will continue working; it is a continuous improvement of the environmental indicators that are our guide. We analyze all our environmental indicators and we will continue working to improve energy efficiency, to reduce our emissions, to reduce water consumption or the generation of waste. As concrete actions, we seek to have better and better cold equipment, continue with the isolation of tanks and we are studying the implementation of photovoltaics. In addition, one of the actions that in my opinion is a distinctive of Segura Viudas, is all the time that the biodiversity of the area has been studied. As I said, there are visits to show all that biodiversity, but behind that visit there has been a lot of work.

In 2017 we reached an agreement with an NGO called SEO Birdlife to conserve the biodiversity and landscape of the area. A plan was made that was based on three main axes: identifying and surveying the bird population, especially in the area, preparing proposals to promote biodiversity, and creating dissemination activities. Some books were created called Cuadernos de la Viña, which collected all those studies of the local flora and fauna and how that harmony between our work in the field and our work in the winery is guaranteed, because we need this flora and fauna so that flourish our product. Wine and cava are closely linked to the environment, with which many efforts and many studies have been made to disseminate all these natural and biodiversity values.

How do you see the future of social responsibility in your sector?

It is a sector that has been proactive for a long time, anticipating legislation and in which we listen a lot to consumer sentiment. In this regard, we know that all consumers, but especially young consumers, are concerned about the issue of sustainability.

As I have commented, we are going to expand the scope of the Wineries to cover everything that may be of interest to the consumer. And, on an environmental level, which is my job, I think there are three major challenges: climate change, the circular economy and biodiversity.

As for climate change, what we have talked about: energy efficiency, decarbonisation, optimization of logistics processes (which I think there is still a lot to do) or refrigerant gases of less impact. Regarding the circular economy, reducing the environmental footprint of our products and our packaging, especially, in our case, of our packaging, betting on recycling and reducing food waste. At the level of biodiversity, what we have been doing a lot in Segura Viudas, but already more widespread, such as the protection of species, reduction of the use of fertilizers and increase of sustainable agriculture.

I believe that the Next Generation funds are going to be an opportunity to carry out all these environmental sustainability challenges that we have. Let us remember that one of the axes on which the Next Generation is going to focus is on issues of sustainability, in addition to digitization. I think we are facing a challenge and it is interesting.

What are the next challenges for the winery in terms of sustainability? Although you have already advanced me some.

Above all, adapt to this new context in which we find ourselves: circular economy, climate change, biodiversity… And one of the points that I believe will also be important and will be a challenge for all wineries, is the issue of communication, the so-called consumer empowerment. I believe that the consumer is going to be an important lever for change and companies, in this case Segura Viudas, are interested in having them informed and communicated, because we believe that it is something that really worries them more and more.