The Champagne industry has been committed to an environmental transition since 2000. Champagne was the first wine industry to carry out a carbon assessment and take ambitious measures to reduce its emissions. One of these actions was adopting a new, lighter standard bottle.
Since then, major research and development has been carried out in collaboration with glassmakers to find the best possible compromise to reduce the weight of the bottle while still preserving the mechanical properties. Because the bottle must withstand large quantities of handling and pressure, and task has been a real technological challenge!
As a result, after 5 years of experimentation, Champagne has adopted a bottle that weighs 853 grams instead of the previous 900 grams, a 7% reduction. This figure that may seem anecdotal, but it actually allows a reduction of 8,000 tons of CO2 per year, the equivalent of the emissions of 4000 vehicles.
But the bottle weight reduction is actually only one part of a broader action plan initiated in the early 2000s.
Concerned about preserving their terroir and the typicality of their wines, the winemakers and Champagne Houses have been meeting for more than twenty years to discuss both the climate challenge and the changing societal expectations for champagne. The industry has set up an action program in three parts: Carbon Footprint (the bottle weight reduction falls under this part), Water Footprint, and Biodiversity Footprint.
So, the sector is acting with three priorities: product excellence, respect for the terroir and the environment, and industry sustainability.
Significant results have already been obtained: 50% less of phytosanitary products, 90% of industrial waste treated and recovered, 100% of wine waste treated and recycled, and 100% of by-products recovered. A 20% reduction in the carbon footprint of each bottle and the creation of the “Viticulture Durable” in Champagne reference system
To continue its momentum, the sector has set new ambitious targets: by 2025, the use of herbicides will be abandoned entirely, and, by 2050, the carbon footprint per bottle will have been reduced by 75%. Also, by 2030, 100% of the vineyards will be environmentally certified.
Environmental preservation is a constant process, and while is an obvious path in the face of climate change, it is not always an easy one.
Champagne’s permanent quest to improve their environmental footprint is a long-term process. The challenges for these goals are twofold because natural cycles cannot be controlled, and traditional business model transformation takes years, even when the business does not need to take ecological cycles into account.
But Champagne is constantly innovating and leading the collective approach of continuous progress with goals to preserve its unique terroir.
The Champagne vineyard is already suffering from the effects of climate change. To combat, more than 50 research and development programs are underway, including the research of new grape varieties, the adoption of semi-large vines, and the fight against vine decline.
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