As part of a modern Western economy it is almost impossible for Scarlet Wines to be truly sustainable. To take just one example, there is currently no way for us to transport wine from the port to our warehouse, other than via diesel lorry.
The only way for us to become fully sustainable would be to close. This is something we did consider; but it seems more productive to work on the subject than step around it. We have taken the following steps towards sustainability;
- Buy all of our energy from Ecotricity, so it all comes from wind and solar
- Replaced the diesel van with an electric one - note this is still far from perfect as building the van creates emissions
- Added an electric cargo bike for smaller local deliveries
- All of our premises heating is now electric, via heat pump or direct electric
- We have increased the insulation of our premises and invested in a new office portacabin that is draught free, well insulated and so needs very little heating
- We have an absolute no fly policy, so any wine tasting is done via zoom or travelling by surface transport - the days of trips to Australia are over
- We are massively increasing the number of organic wines we sell as this improves vineyard biodiversity and ends pesticide use
- Improved the number and visibility of vegan wines we sell to help people move to a vegan diet
There is more we can and will do, but to significantly move forward from this point will require government involvement. Some examples include investment in low carbon freight, perhaps a re-launch of local rail for freight, hydrogen powered lorries and ships.
In the meantime one of the main things we can all do is to reduce our overall consumption. This means drinking less but better - we advocate this anyway as the wines become very interesting as you move a little further above entry level.
Choose what you drink. Probably the most sustainable drink we sell is Cornish Organic Cider. By definition this comes from established Cornish orchards that often have good biodiversity.
For wine, shipping is less important than you might expect as the carbon cost to move a bottle from Chile by ship is not that different to moving one from Spain by road. What is probably more important is vineyard biodiversity, which is why organic wine is good.
Government in the UK is moving very slowly on these issues, so one of the best things you can do is campaign. You could join Fridays for Future, Greenpeace or Extinction Rebellion. You could get involved with a political party. In the UK the Greens and Liberal Democrats are probably most green, then Labour - with Conservatives sadly a distant last.
We all need to be involved at this crucial time.