From Environmental to Sustainability Programs: A Review of Sustainability Initiatives in the Italian Wine Sector
3.1. Programs Selection
- V.I.V.A. (“Valutazione dell’Impatto della Vitivinicoltura sull’Ambiente”) Sustainable Wine
- Vino Libero
- New Green Revolution (Montefalco 2015)
- Organic wine
3.2. Data Collection
- General purposes and objective of the program/initiative;
- Implementation status of the program;
- Presence or absence of specific elements (listed in Section 3.3.1 “Glossary”);
- Which elements of the so-called “three pillars” of sustainability are accounted for in the program;
- Boundaries” of the program: is sustainability only considered in the vineyard, or are the cellar practices also analyzed?
- Names of the subjects designing and promoting the program;
- Presence of elements related to transparency and communication, such as emission of a sustainability report for participants of the program, availability (to consumers) of the evaluating system used, the presence of a website, and a sustainability labeling scheme;
- Presence of a third party verifier for certification or validation of the winery’s results.
- Sustainability Protocol in this context, defines the “document” that states the requirements a producer has to satisfy and/or the management and behavioral standards to be followed in order to reach sustainability goals and to be admitted to join the program. It should not be confused with technical disciplinary or assessment manuals (since their scope is to provide practical guidelines and tools to improve sustainability) .
- Management tools are defined as practical tools provided by the program for sustainability assessment and improvement. Examples of management tools are the self-assessment questionnaires (also called “checklist”), the technical/scientific tools (e.g., a web-platform for sustainability assessment), the guidelines (more detailed if compared with the Protocol), the training tools (workshops, seminars, manuals, etc.) and the specific indicators to be used for the evaluations (for example: a program requiring companies to assess social sustainability by means of the calculation of indicators as the number of women employed in the company or the employees’ turn-over).
- Calculators are used to express a concise and comparative measure of sustainability performances. Hence, they are used to explicate complex results in a single measure (e.g., Carbon Footprint, Water Footprint, or a final indicator of sustainability).
- Validation is the procedure through which the compliance with the program’s rules, the transparency and accuracy of information, the achievement of a minimum level of sustainability are checked. These checks can be conducted by the program’s staff, or by a third party.
- Certification is the outcome of a formal process by which an independent and accredited Body declares that a product or a system is in compliance with a specific standard (rules or regulation) provided by an International Body (e.g., ISO standards).
3.3.2. Definition of the Analysis Methodology
- Definition of the implementation status of each program (definition phase, pilot phase, operating).
- Detection of the elements. The presence of the series of elements defined in the program (Protocol, Management Tools, Calculators, Label, Validation, Certification) was detected.
- Analysis of completeness. For each program analyzed it was asked and reported which “sustainability pillars” were taken into account (if only the Environmental or also the Economic and Social aspects were considered) and—within each area—which elements were taken into account, namely :
- Environmental pillar: Air, Water, Soil, Biodiversity, Energy management, Packaging, Transports, Pesticides and Fertilizers, Waste Management, Landscape, Raw Materials (this last one—“Raw Materials”—means that the program evaluates the attention from producers dedicated to the sustainability of the materials they purchase for their operations).
- Economic: Direct Economic Impacts, Indirect Economic Impacts, Evaluation of the territorial resources raw material and labor force), responsibility towards workers (health, safety, training, etc.).
- Social: Responsibility towards residents and inhabitants (people living nearby the farm), responsibility toward the local community, responsibility toward consumers.
- Analysis of the boundaries (if the sustainability program covers operations in the Vineyard, in the Cellar, or both).
- Analysis of the consistency in terms of science and innovation (Academic bodies and Institutions involved in the project; innovation level).
- Analysis of the transparency and communication aspects (availability and clarity of information available to the consumers and stakeholders, in the form of sustainability reports, labeling, websites, availability of the evaluation system used by the program to assess the sustainability of the winery).
- Analysis of the “sustainability label”, its content and the provided information.
- Analysis of the “verification” type. A distinction between in/out values and “gradual” vales has been made. Indeed, observing the majority of the sustainability programs, it was seen that in order to be accepted in a certain program, or to have access to a label or certification, some programs ask their wineries to comply with certain rules, whereas other times it is a matter of respecting values or thresholds. Therefore, the analysis was conducted according to this distinction.
- Analysis of an independent third party involvement (for validation or certification, if provided).
4. Program Description
|Tergeo ||An initiative of the UIV—Unione Italiana Vini, an Italian wine trade association.
Objective: to support the environmental, social and economic sustainability in the Italian wine sector, enhancing the “knowledge and technology transfer” from Companies and Researchers to farmers and wine producers. It acts like a “collector” of initiatives proposed by Companies, Universities and Research Centers dedicated to the promotion of sustainability. Tergeo works mainly with two instruments: the “Matrix” and the “Applications”. The Matrix is an assessment tool proposed by the Commitee to assess a company’s “sustainability positioning”. “Applications” are tools proposed by the Partners (Research Centers, Universities, Company but not wineries) that can help wine producers to be more sustainable. These tools are submitted for evaluation by Tergeo Scientific Committee, that is composed by distinguished academic Professors and Researchers and experts of the wine sector; they evaluate the proposal and, if it is accepted, the “Application” is proposed to the members (producers and farmers) of the Association.
Participation: 170 wineries and 9 main companies operating in the agricultural sector.
|Magis ||A sustainability program initiated by Bayer CropScience in cooperation with the University of Milan.
Objective: to promote sustainability in viticulture and minimize environmental impact by using precision viticulture techniques. Monitoring vineyards and distributing fertilizers or agrochemicals in a more precise way to enable reduced interventions in the field, as well as reducing the amount of wastes and the overall environmental impact.
Participation: approximately 106 wineries.
|SOStain ||A sustainability program promoted by the Observatory for Productivity and Efficient use of Resources in Agriculture - OPERA of the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, in cooperation with other Italian universities and research centers.
Objective: to promote environmental, social and economic sustainability in Sicily. The program is characterized by the “cycle of continuos improvement”, an iterative process through which each winery can assess, monitor and improve its sustainability performances.
Participants: 2 big Sicilian wineries. The project is open to all the wineries in the region.
|V.I.V.A. Sustainable Wine ||It is a project launched in 2011 by the Italian Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea in order to evaluate the wine-sector sustainability performance, based on Water & Carbon Footprint calculation, with the participation of some large Italian wine–producing companies, Universities and Research institutes.
Objective: to establish a common methodology for the environmental, social and economic sustainability assessment in the wine sector using 4 indicators (Air, Water, Vineyard, Territory) and to propose a label and a smart-phone enabling the final consumers to recognize producers committed to the Project.
Participation: 9 pilot companies.
|ECO-Prowine ||It is a European project funded under the framework CIP - EcoInnovation. 6 European countries are participating (including Italy).
Objective: to promote sustainability in the wine sector through the use of LCA methodology and to create a label for European sustainable viticulture. Social and economic aspects are also taken into account, the latest through the use of Life Cycle Costing methodology.
Participation: 105 pilot wineries in Italy, Spain, Portugal, Bulgary, Greece, Austria.
|Ita.Ca/Gea.Vite [39,40]||Two sustainability initiatives promoted by an Italian Agronomic Institute (Studio Sata)
Objective: Ita.Ca (Italian Wine Carbon Calculator) is a tool to calculate the greenhouse gas emissions, specifically set for the Italian wine sector, and built upon indications from the International Wine Carbon Calculator (IWCC). Gea.Vite is a program to assess the efficiency and sustainability of the winery. It is composed by several indicators and tools (Ita.Ca is one of the tools in the program).
Participation: 47 wineries.
|Vino Libero ||A program initiated by an Italian wine entrepreneur, who started with his products and then involved other wineries.
The program aims mainly at promoting the production of wine free from chemical fertilizers, weed killers and excess sulfites.
Participation: 12 producers, 62 restaurants, 75 winehouses.
|New Green Revolution (Montefalco 2015) ||Started in 2009, the project has been developed by the Associazione Grandi Cru of the Italian wine region “Montefalco Sagrantino”.
Objective: creation of a environmental, social and economic sustainability protocol specifically designed for the Region (a territorial model of sustainable development).
Participation: 7 wineries (all located in the Montefalco area).
|Organic wine ||A wine can be defined “Organic” when it is produced according to the Regulation of the European Commission (EC) no. 203/2012, that is:
(in the vineyard) produced from “organic” grapes;
(in the cellar) produced using only products and processes authorized by the Regulation (EC) No 203/2012.
Until 2012, there were no EU rules or definition of “organic wine”. Only grapes could be certified organic and only the mention “wine made from organic grapes” was allowed. In February 2012, new EU rules have been agreed. The new regulation has identified oenological techniques and substances to be authorized for organic wine, including a maximum sulphite content (set at 100 mg per liter for red wine and 150 mg/L for white/rosé).
|VinNatur ||VinNatur is a consortium of wineries (across all Europeo) producing so-called “natural wine”. At the present time, an official or legal definition for “natural wine” does not exist; however, there are many unofficial codes of practices or definitions released by several associations of natural wine producers. Objective: promoting a wine that is produced with the lowest possible number of human interventions in the vineyard and in the cellar, in order to enhance the link
between the territory of origin, the final product and its taste. In general, “natural wines” are produced from organically or bio-dynamically grown grapes. Grapes must be hand-picked, and no sugars, foreign yeasts and bacteria must be used. The use of sulphites must be strictly limited, and no heavy manipulation are permitted (micro-oxygenation, reverse osmosis, spinning cone, cryoextraction. Participation: 96 producers in Italy (and 66 accross Europe).
pursued particularly limiting the quantity of sulfites and chemicals.
Participation: 96 producers in Italy (and 66 accross Europe).
5.1. Implementation Status
- Definition phase: project defined in all its components but still not tested on companies.
- Pilot phase: project already defined but in a testing phase on pilot companies.
- Operating: project fully working, already tested on companies and completely defined in all its components.
|New Green Revolution||•|
5.2. Element Detection
|New Green Revolution||•||•||•||•||••|
|New Green Revolution||•||•||•||•||•||•||•||•||•||•||•||•||•||•||•||•||•|
|Tergeo||•||•||Winery considered only by “applications” (not in the matrix).|
|New Green Revolution||•||•|
|Organic wine||•||•||Winery considered only for what concerns the regulation of sulphites, chemicals and additives (food safety).|
5.5. Consistency (Science and Innovation)
|Tergeo||University of Milan;
University Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, PiacenzaUniversity of Verona;
University of Naples “Federico II”;
University of Padova
Ministry for Rural Policies
|Magis||University of Milan;
University of Turin (Department of Agrarian, Forest and Food Sciences);
University of Florence (Department of Economics, Engineering, Agrarian and Forest Sciences and Technologies);
University of Bari (Institute of Sciences of Food Production—National Research Council)
|SOStain||University Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Piacenza (OPERA)
University of Milan;
University of Palermo
|Ministry of Rural Policies (sponsorship)|
|V.I.V.A.||University Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (OPERA);
University of Turin (Agroinnova);
University of Perugia (Res.Cent. on Biomasses)
|Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea|
|ECO-Prowine||University Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Piacenza (OPERA);
Research Centers: IPVE (Portugal), Aeiforia (University Cattolica), CIRCE (University of Zaragoza)
|European Community (framework Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme-EcoInnovation)|
|Ita.Ca/Gea.Vite||University of Milan|
|Vino Libero||University of Turin||Piedmont Region (Framework: European Agricultural Fund for the Rural Development)|
|New Green Revolution||University of Milan;
Parco Tecnologico Agroalimentare Umbria 3A- Agrifood Technological Park of the Umbria Region);
|Organic wine||European Community Regulation No. 203/2012.|
|VinNatur||Experimental Center for Sustainable Viticulture|
|Tergeo||It is the first “platform” aiming to collect sustainability tools and initiatives. It is able to link requests from winemakers and farmers with the solutions and products proposed by companies, Universities, etc. |
Applications: tools innovative by definition, they are all validated according to a scientific process.
“Tergeo” matrix for the evaluation of sustainability positioning.
|Magis||Focus on “precision farming” and innovation in the sector.
The Platform enables the continuous monitoring by researchers and improvement for farmers.
Label and validation by a Third Party.
|SOStain||First complete sustainability program for wineries in Sicily (it assesses environmental, social and economic sustainability along all the chain). Strong focus on a specific territory.
Transparency towards consumers (companies are obliged to edit a sustainability report).
|V.I.V.A.||Use of completely new indicators, or existing ones but adapted to the wine sector.
High transparency (disciplinary is public) and involvement of a Third Party for the disciplinary evaluation.
Communication: innovative way of communicating with the final consumer through a specific label, QR (Quick Response) Code and smart-phone app.
Procedure to obtain the label: it is necessary to be verified by a third party that can be chosen by the single winery.
|ECO-Prowine||Application of LCA-LCC methodology specifically adapted to the wine sector
Creation of a specific “label” for sustainable wine that can be recognized across all Europe as a standard in the sector.
Statistical approach to obtain the influencing factors in the impact indicators.
Program including European different countries.
|Ita.Ca/Gea.Vite||Ita.Ca: first GHG emissions calculator for the Italian wine sector.
Integration of social and economic sustainability with elements related to an effective management of the winery.
|Vino Libero||The Disciplinary aims to combine, in a harmonic manner and as an “improved summary”, the requirements from national and regional guidelines for organic and integrated production.
Ability of the program to involve—a part from wineries - also wine houses, restaurants, etc.
|New Green Revolution||Strong focus on local territory (Montefalco area, in Umbria Region).
Application and adjustment of GeaVite’s tools to a specific area.
Realization of a new machine that can enhance sustainability in farming.
Involvement of a Third Party for the validation of the protocol and of companies
|Organic wine||Innovative when it was at first proposed (proposing an “alternative” way of farming), nowadays is only the “protocol” that can give rise to a certification.|
|VinNatur||It is the first consortium aiming to join all the producers of natural wine across Europe and promote research in this sector.|
5.6. Transparency and Communication
- Reporting: does the program ask wineries to edit and publish a report about sustainability performance and improvement?
- Availability of the evaluation system: is the “evaluation system” available to the final consumers? Are consumers allowed to know how the program assesses a company’s sustainability?
- Web: does the program communicate to consumers via a dedicated web-site? Is information clear and transparent?
- Label: is a “sustainability label” provided as the final output of the program, in order to allow the final consumer to recognize products and companies committed in a sustainability-improving path?
|New Green Revolution||•||•|
5.7. Validation and Third Party Intervention
- In/Out: the validation/certification is guarantees adherence to the rules stated in the protocol/disciplinary. Maintaining the membership status is not a matter of thresholds, but rather related to do/not to do requirements.
- Gradual (scale): the check is made upon thresholds, and the achievement of levels of sustainability.
|Validation/Certification||Check on Values||Involvement of a 3 rd Party|
|New Green Revolution 5||•||•|
|Programs||Elements||Pillars||Objective||Boundaries||Transparency & Communication||Validation||3rdParty Intervention|
|Protocol||Mgmt tools||Calculators||Label||Validation||Certification||Environmental.||Economic||Social||Company||Products||Vineyard||Cellar||Report||Evaluation system||Web site||In/out||Gradual||Validation||Certification|
|New Green Revolution||•||•||•||•||•||•||•||•||•||•||•||•||•||•|
6.1. Common Aspects
- V.I.V.A: a complex label composed by a QR (Quick Response) code (a square code linked to the information about the program and the related product), the four indicators (pictures, not values), the logo and name of the initiative, the logo of the Italian Ministry of the Environment.
- Magis: the label at the moment is a simple logo representing the membership of the company to the program and the achievement of minimum requirement. In the future, the logo will be differently colored according to the sustainability level gained.
- ECO-Prowine: the label, foreseen within 2014, will be the sign that the company is committed to the sustainability program and a minimum set threshold has been gained, as well as an improvement. It will be composed of the logo of the project and a code to be inserted on the dedicated website to gain access to information about sustainability performance of the company.
- Vino Libero: the label, presenting the logo of the project, is the “proof” that a product has been made according to the “Vino Libero” rules.
- The presence and the meaning of the characterizing elements of a real and complete sustainability program (protocol, indicators, the label, etc.) that could be suitable for the Italian wine sector;
- The main areas (e.g., Air, Water, Soil, etc.) to be considered;
- Within each area, shared “indicators” to be used to calculate and compare sustainability performances.
Conflicts of Interest
References and Notes
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- Specific files created for each program are available from the authors upon request.
- It was not possible to find a clear definition of “Sustainability Protocol” in the literature. In this context, the meaning of the word “Protocol” has been taken from the Information & Communication Technology, communication and medical sectors. In these areas, indeed, this word is frequently used, although with different meanings. Although the different situations, generally speaking it is possible to notice that all the “protocols” have some common elements: (a) the existence of a precise goal (e.g., the communication between devices in the ICT, the understanding between individuals or entities in the communication field, the resolution of an emergency situation in the medical sector); (b) a set of rules to apply, code of procedures or parameters to own, in order to achieve that goal.
- The meaning of all these aspects was carefully explained to the interviewed persons. All these elements were chosen according to the “areas” generally considered in the major international sustainability programs, particularly the California Code of Sustainable Winegrowing of the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance.
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Corbo, C.; Lamastra, L.; Capri, E. From Environmental to Sustainability Programs: A Review of Sustainability Initiatives in the Italian Wine Sector. Sustainability 2014, 6, 2133-2159. https://doi.org/10.3390/su6042133
Corbo C, Lamastra L, Capri E. From Environmental to Sustainability Programs: A Review of Sustainability Initiatives in the Italian Wine Sector. Sustainability. 2014; 6(4):2133-2159. https://doi.org/10.3390/su6042133Chicago/Turabian Style
Corbo, Chiara, Lucrezia Lamastra, and Ettore Capri. 2014. "From Environmental to Sustainability Programs: A Review of Sustainability Initiatives in the Italian Wine Sector" Sustainability 6, no. 4: 2133-2159. https://doi.org/10.3390/su6042133