With a ‘multifaceted program’, Wine Australia will place a renewed focus on sustainability, and environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG).

Rachel Triggs, who in June took the position of Wine Australia’s General Manager of ESG and Market Access, will lead the scheme. Wine Australia stated that the project will incorporate ‘expertise from across the grape and wine landscape to build a sector-wide sustainability and ESG strategy’ for the industry.

Triggs explained that such a program makes clear business sense, with changes to the global picture presenting ‘market access risk over the medium to long term if the sector does not act.’

“Globally, there is an increasing expectation that ESG frameworks be contemplated in assessing the impact and ethical practices of companies, and these are having a significant impact on global market access dynamics, including on purchasing and investment trends,” Triggs commented.

“We intend to support the Australian grape and wine sector through demonstrating its sustainability and ESG credentials across the triple bottom line – ethical, economic and environmental sustainability.

“The Australian grape and wine community can be a leader in sustainability and ESG, and it’s vital that we act now. I’m delighted to be supporting the sector in this critical area and look forward to working with our community in driving meaningful change.”

Triggs’ sentiments were echoed by Wine Australia CEO, Dr Martin Cole, who said the new program has been developed in concordance with feedback from the grape and wine industry.

“Many across our grape and wine community are already applying sustainable practices and are undertaking initiatives to improve the environments that we operate in,” Dr Cole said.

“However, our conversations with our community have confirmed that its increasingly important that we invest further in sustainability and ESG. There is an urgency to see our sector’s efforts expanded beyond environmental sustainability to incorporate ethical and economic sustainability in a greater capacity,” Dr Cole continued.

“The global operating environment for our sector is on the cusp of considerable change and there is a strong desire to incorporate a greater scientific evidence base to demonstrate our credentials on the world stage.”

Dr Cole also outlined why Triggs experience in the industry makes her ideally suited to lead this program, saying: “Ms Triggs is a leader at Wine Australia with significant expertise to support the sector and I am thrilled that she will be helping our sector to achieve these goals and take a leading role internationally in sustainability and ESG.”

The announcement was welcomed by other industry groups, including Australian Grape & Wine, and the Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI).

Chair of Australian Grape & Wine’s Sustainability Committee and Wine Australia Deputy Chair Cath Oates said, “Sustainability continues to play an increasingly important role across the wine sector, not just in terms of stewardship of our environments, but increasingly in meeting the needs of all stakeholders of the Australian wine sector.”

“We’re thrilled to see the topic in sharp focus for Wine Australia and the incorporation of ESG frameworks for the sector as this will support a vibrant and valued wine community into the future,” Oates continued.

While Dr Mark Krstic, Managing Director of the AWRI, commented that his organisation was “pleased to support this new direction at Wine Australia, and to see Sustainable Winegrowing Australia playing a vital role.”

“This is a great opportunity for our sector and the AWRI to continue to work together to provide a solid scientific evidence base to support Australia’s sustainability credentials.”

Exact details of the sustainability strategy will be revealed after a development process that will include ‘customers across the Australian grape and wine community.’

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