New Zealand wine - first brand to display carbon footprint

Mobius Marlborough sauvignon blanc becomes the first wine brand to display carbon emissions per glass depending on export market.

Online PR News – 05-November-2010 – – New Zealand wine, Mobius Marlborough sauvignon blanc, has become the first brand in the world to show their environmental credentials by displaying the carbon footprint of each individual glass serving on its label.

The brand, which takes its name from the highest peak of the range of hills above the town, will display its carbon emissions for a typical 125ml glass, laying bare to the shopper the full environmental impact of making and transporting it.

The relevant carbon emissions on display, which are calculated to reflect the environmental impact of factors such as transportation and refrigeration, will be measured separately for every export market. Therefore, bottles sold in New Zealand will hold a lower amount of carbon emissions than those shipped to Australia. Experts estimate that a 750ml bottle of wine at 190g carbon emissions per glass -as shown by bottles shipped to Australia from New Zealand- equates roughly to the carbon emissions released by a three-mile car journey.

Wine is the world's first product to be certified by the UK's Carbon Trust, which attempts to influence consumer choice by encouraging universal carbon footprint labelling – using its own Carbon Reduction label – across all products. UK drinkers consume £7.6bn worth of wine imports every year, making the country the world's largest importer of wine.

This certification is a milestone for the New Zealand Wine Company (NZWC) manufacturer, which has been pursuing sustainable management within the New Zealand wine industry. NZWC's sustainability manager, Craig Fowles, said that the certification is very important for being a full-life cycle carbon approach. But, he admitted that with the recession consumers are watching their spending, and price is the dominant factor for wine producers at the moment.

However, Mike Berners-Lee, author of How bad are bananas? The carbon footprint of everything questioned the methodology used by the Carbon Trust, arguing that it is unfit for comparisons between products, with Defra coming to the same conclusion after commissioning a review of it.

A spokesman for the Wine and Spirits Trade Association welcomed the move, but said a consistent approach was necessary: "Having launched a carbon calculator enabling companies to calculate their transport related emissions we're well aware of the interest in this area. The global wine sector is currently finalising guidelines for calculating overall carbon emissions to ensure that any information provided to consumers is accurate and based on the same methodology."