Feb. 23, 2023

Waste Prevention through Competitions and Chocolate w/ Katie Jackson, Jackson Family Wines

Waste Prevention through Competitions and Chocolate w/ Katie Jackson, Jackson Family Wines

Katie Jackson leads the Sustainability Team of Jackson Family Wines, she describes some of the major programs they’ve undertaken.

Jackson Family Wines is at the forefront of many sustainability efforts as one of the world’s largest wine companies, with >40 wineries. Though they have made significant efforts in renewable energy, climate change, and social impact; they have also done a lot with waste prevention and green purchasing. Katie Jackson, a 2nd generation family member, leads these efforts to become more sustainable and describes some of the major programs they’ve undertaken. 

Detailed Show Notes: 

Intro from Anna Brittain of Napa Green

  • Only 30% of glass is recycled, and 30-50% of emissions are from packaging and distribution

Katie’s background - 2nd generation, worked in multiple departments but joined the sustainability team in 2011 after it was founded in 2008

JFW background

  • Founded in 1982 as Kendall Jackson
  • Invested in high-quality vineyards across the state
  • Founded Cambria (1986) and Stonestreet (1989), now >40 wineries (mostly CA, 3 Oregon, Chile, South Africa, France, Italy, & 2 in Australia)

Broad sustainability programs with four current focus areas: 

  • Social impact, including DEI - has an internal team called “idea alliance” to develop new ways to improve diversity
  • Carbon/climate change - most difficult goals - 50% reduction by 2030, climate positive by 2050
  • Farming/regenerative farming
  • Water management

2015 - publicly released a comprehensive plan w/ 11 different focus areas, including Zero Waste and getting more growers to be sustainable

Sustainability investments and ROI

  • Invested $18.5M since 2015
  • Biggest spend in renewable energy (primarily solar - powers ~30% of winemaking needs, installing a new wind turbine which will generate ~5% of needs)
  • Generated $19.5M in savings and gov’t grants
  • Lightweighting of glass has saved $1M/year in glass and ~$500k/year in transportation
  • Solar initially had a 6-year payback
  • No set corporate threshold for sustainability investment ROI

Sustainability team

  • Two full-time staff
  • ~80 people in 9 working groups volunteer ~3-4 hrs/month to work on sustainability initiatives

Green purchasing - developed preferred purchasing plan, looking at more environmentally friendly materials

  • E.g., the sales team is looking at biodegradable POS neckers made w/ seeds

Waste prevention - critical for climate change goals, focused more on wineries currently

  • Achieved <2% to landfill at wineries; the rest recycled and composted
  • Mostly organic materials  (e.g., composting)
  • Sister company - Whole Vine - turns waste into nutrient-dense Chardonnay marc that is used for chocolate bars
  • Have not yet gotten certified Zero Waste due to cost, instead investing in other areas

Water conservation - since 2008, reduced water intensity/bottle by 43%

  • Created the “Water Wise Winery Award” competition to conserve water (2016)
  • Recycled water in cooling towers
  • Installed rainwater capture systems, 1st at Carneros Winery - 60% of water usage from system

Spreading sustainability practices

  • The sustainability team helps spread the word
  • Annual Winegrowing Summit also shares best practices in production

Consumers showing interest and support for sustainable certifications

Luxury brands benefit from higher margins for investment

Mass market brands have the scale to innovate

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