Herència Altés is a pioneer in the calculation and commitment to reduce the carbon footprint
- In 2021, 91.88% of the winery's emissions came from indirect activities and the amount of CO2 emitted per bottle is 1.5 kg, 2 tenths below the European average
- The winery is committed to reducing its footprint, year after year, by meeting challenges such as energy self-sufficiency or making the transition to electrical machinery to reach zero emissions by 2050
February 2023 – The Herència Altés winery has been working for years with an eye toward conserving and preserving the environment. In fact, they define their philosophy as achieving healthier soils and the perpetuation of agriculture. In this sense, the winery works to reduce the carbon footprint as much as possible, which is why they have been carrying out this calculation for two years now, and now in 2021 it has also been audited, a pioneering practice in the wine sector that very few wineries are being carried out on an audited basis.
Rafael De Haan, co-owner of the winery, explains: “we measure our carbon footprint both in the winery and in the field, before and after winemaking, locally and globally to be able to make decisions and continue to improve, that is , reducing cellar emissions. This is how we have built a 360º and 100% coherent sustainable project”. And it is that, precisely, the calculation of the Carbon Footprint of an organization serves to determine the starting point and the distribution of emissions to detect in which areas improvement actions can be implemented.
The carbon footprint in 3 figures
According to the 2021 audit, the winery emitted 1,291.35 tons of CO2, a figure that does not include CO2 sequestration, (compensation of emissions with natural capture from the atmosphere through different processes, mainly biological, such as tree planting and vine cultivation).
Of this total emissions, 91.88% come from indirect activities such as the acquisition and use of products and services from third parties, especially, or transport emissions, while 8.12% come from direct activities of the winery such as those emitted from the winemaking process, transport emissions from winery vehicles, or stationary and fugitive combustion.
The amount of CO2 emitted for the production of each bottle of wine is 1.5 kg/bottle, this means that Herència Altés' emissions per bottle are 2 tenths below the European average (1.7 kg of CO2/bottle ).
Finally, although the audit itself does not include CO2 sequestration, because it is an audit that follows the ISO 14065:2018 standard -and this does not include this calculation- from the winery, with the Inèdit consultancy, an approximate study of what that kidnapping would mean. The calculation is based on information from the third report on climate change in Catalonia from the Catalan Office for Climate Change (OCCC). The average annual sequestration value of the winery's vineyards is 0.24 Mg C/ha per year. The calculation study can be consulted here.
Commitments and challenges for the future of the winery
The main commitment of Herència Altés is the reduction of the footprint year after year. A continued decrease in emissions per liter of wine produced with the ultimate goal of achieving net-zero or zero emissions by 2050, a recommendation made by the United Nations through the Race to Zero campaign.
For this, the winery intends to measure its emissions periodically, to evaluate the results and continue advancing towards decarbonization. Thus, for example, between 2018 and 2020 the winery reduced emissions from electricity consumption by 26% and improved its energy self-sufficiency by up to 60%. This was thanks to the expansion, in 2019, of the installation of the photovoltaic panels installed in 2016.
The challenges that the winery sets itself to achieve the previous commitments are diverse and apply to the entire cycle, however, we can highlight the objective of moving towards energy self-sufficiency and achieving it completely in the medium term, starting the transition towards electrical machinery in the field, thus reducing the emissions of its own fleet, and in the case of packaging, continue reducing the weight of the bottles and eliminating the capsules. In this sense, important changes have already been made with the use of lighter bottles, going from 630 g to 530 g bottles in some wines and, in others, from 530 g to 395 g.
Activities carried out throughout the production cycle
Herència Altés applies efforts in favor of the environment in all phases of the viticulture and viniculture processes and, even beyond, in distribution, in the impact on the territory or awareness. Thus, in the field, he practices organic farming on all farms since 2015 and is now approaching regenerative agriculture through respectful pruning or plant covers that allow soil regeneration. This last project, still in the study phase, is being carried out by VITEC, the Wine Technology Center and is a complex and pioneering practice in territories with rainfed agriculture.
The winery takes advantage of natural resources, such as rainwater to clean the winery or the orography that, thanks to an intelligent design of the winery, guarantees a stable temperature in the aging room, minimizing energy use. In addition, when making wines with minimal intervention, the use of chemical products in the winemaking process is avoided whenever possible. In the areas of distribution and transport, the fact that the winery is reducing travel and transport is noteworthy, optimizing the latter by improving the efficiency of freight transport.
Finally, in broader terms, two major commitments stand out: on the one hand, the winery's own environmental project that protects the landscape and promotes biodiversity on 5 hectares of land through the planting of native species, the recovery of habitats and afforestation through hacking or butterfly monitoring within the Catalan Butterfly Monitoring Scheme program.
On the other hand, more than a year ago, the winery became a Silver Member in the International Wineries for Climate Action (IWCA), a non-profit association that promotes the decarbonization of the sector and acts as a lobby to encourage other agents of the sector to join the initiative.
Rafael De Haan insists that “sustainability is a prevailing need today. We need to believe as a whole and make a firm commitment to be more sustainable, both globally and locally”. At the local level, the winery works in terms of dissemination through wine tourism visits, collaborates with local agents in projects that watch over the landscape and biodiversity, such as the NGO for the conservation of nature GEPEC, and encourages local farmers to convert to organic farming.