Welcome To SWBC Certified

Welcome to SWBC Certified

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After a decade of development, Sustainable Winegrowing BC (SWBC), a program of the BC Wine Grape Council, is proud to introduce SWBC Certified, BC’s first sustainability certification program for the winegrowing industry! We invite you to familiarize yourself with the program through our website and join us for an introductory webinar on December 3rd to learn more about the program. And, please, get in touch if you want to discuss how your organization can become certified for taking sustainability to the next level.

SWBC Certified represents the next generation of global certification standards, adapted to the BC winegrowing industry. The goal is to position BC wineries and growers as sustainability leaders worldwide. Ultimately, success will depend on the cooperative efforts of wineries, grape growers and industry stakeholders working individually and together.

The Evolution of Sustainability Standards. The development of Standards began as early as the 1940’s with the Organic movement. But it wasn’t until the 1970’s and 80’s that Standard-setting and certification really began to ‘take root’ with initiatives like Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance. The 1990’s and 2000’s saw an emergence of many new standards. Most required completion of a set of criteria in order to verify a company was making efforts towards social and environmental enhancement (not degradation). In the 2010’s a new wave of certification Standards ‘2.0’ began to develop. These are based on continual improvement, are outcome-focused and increasingly depend on measurement and the use of emerging data management tools. It was no longer enough to be ‘making efforts,’ actual performance must also be measured.

SWBC Certified. The new SWBC Standard is a ‘next generation’ standard. While still anchored in a set of criteria which help members to achieve goals, the standards also act as a tool for gathering key metrics to assist individuals, and the industry to better understand and adjust their performance where needed. As certification evolves, these key metrics will verify social and environmental enhancements. In fact, it is performance against these metrics that could see farmers get paid in the not too distant future! Significant investments are now funding the development of technologies to make it easier than ever to gather key data on critical issues like ecosystem services and carbon sequestration in soils.

It is the implementation of good practices and measurement against the SWBC Standard’s criteria that will determine actual sustainability performance: for example, systems and practices that conserve resources and create efficiency. Two of the stories in this newsletter highlight key Goal Areas of the SWBC Standard: energy conservation and Integrated Pest Management. At the end of each of the Standards (i.e. one for wine and one for vine) you can see an outline of the Sustainability Metrics for many of the Goal Areas.

So, while the newly launched SWBC Standards will help guide the industry into the next generation of certification, today we invite you to begin your sustainability journey with SWBC Certified. It is our hope that the work of implementing sustainability will bring an opportunity to learn together and contribute to the health of our people, our environment, and our future generations.

Welcome to SWBC Certified!

Written by Katie Pease

Program Manager, Sustainable Winegrowing BC

November 2020