Since the early 1990s, when sustainability hit the stage as a critical element of business leadership, social equity was always inherent to being sustainable. We can’t have environmental or economic sustainability without social sustainability. Over time the equity element has been sidelined, and increasingly sustainability has become synonymous solely with environmental stewardship. In fact, real sustainability is about caring for the health and resilience of nature and environment, the health and resilience of employees and community, all of which contributes to the success and longevity of businesses.
In the wine industry, social equity focuses on issues like farmworker training, living wage, affordable housing, and opportunities for advancement. In addition, we have to acknowledge that industry leadership has been overwhelmingly white- and male-dominated. There are myriad opportunities to elevate diversity and inclusion, creating openings and opportunities for people of color (POC).
Here are some examples of how sustainable wineries and vineyards are addressing social equity, justice and inclusion:
By definition, sustainability rests on three pillars – People, Planet, and Prosperity. All too often sustainability is simply equated with environmental stewardship, when in fact core to sustainability is the recognition that you cannot have environmental or economic sustainability without social sustainability.
Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars has been Napa Green Certified from Soil to Bottle for over a decade. As a part of their commitment to continuing improvement, they have established a cross-departmental “Green Team” to engage and empower employees.
As part of Down to Earth Month, the NVV is promoting the Napa Commute Challenge and exploring what our members are doing to incentivize the use of alternative transportation to and from work. Cakebread Cellars, St. Supéry Estate Vineyards & Winery and Opus One have promoted the use of alternative transportation for some time, and are now looking toward the future.