Carbon Zero Hero
You’d be forgiven for thinking the blood flowing through the veins of Yealands Estate owner Peter Yealands is more a healthy shade of green than red. “Just tell me what we’re not doing,” he says when asked to list their green initiatives – a list that is indeed exhaustive. There’s wetlands restoration, the use of babydoll breed sheep to manicure the vineyards and native falcons to scare off hungry birds during the ripening season. There’s energy-generation and preservation through solar panels, wind turbines and the use of vine-pruning bales for heat and they use lightweight environmentally friendly plastic bottles that are 89 per cent lighter, generate 54 per cent less greenhouse gas emissions and use 19 percent less energy to produce than traditional 750ml glass bottles. The Awatere Valley-based wine company received carboN Zero CertTM certification in April 2009 and in doing so became the largest winery in New Zealand to achieve this status. This means that the company has measured and offset all its greenhouse gas emissions since inception. The winery and vineyard is also accredited under Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand and its advanced ‘green technologies’ lead to it becoming the only winery to be shortlisted in the International Green Awards (by the time Element is published, the results will be known). Entrants are evaluated on sustainability, vision, innovation and advocacy against eight sustainability indicators ranging from energy and carbon, through to supply chain and resources for the whole company. The International Green Awards programme represents the most sustainable organisations across the world and focuses on singling out companies that have embedded sustainability across their organisational processes.