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Tiraki on changing an established industry by reducing emissions

In early 2023, Tiraki, a winery located in Marlborough, declared itself as the first wine brand to achieve B Corp certification after a complicated and rigorous process. The certification was the first step towards communicating the brands commitment to ethical and social responsibility and to change the industry for the better.

For any company wanting to become a B Corp, the company must at least score 80 out of 200 across a number of categories, including sustainability, diversity, rights and much more.

However, to get that score can take numerous years and attempts.

Receiving a B Corp certification is not the be-all and end-all but rather just the beginning for any company to continue to strive and maintain that status.

Upon their assessment, Tiraki Wines scored a 102.5. “When we set up our business, we knew that we wanted to do it in a way that was true to our personal values. As kaitiaki (guardians) of the land we recognise the importance of working with the land in a way that protects it for future generations,” says Josh Hammond, Winemaker at Tiraki.

“We wanted our business structure to start as we mean to carry on so the formal policies of B Corp and how it is ingrained in our company by laws assures consumers that we walk the talk.”

Though every industry can see complications when it comes to carbon emissions, the wine industry is known to have a heavy footprint on the environment from the  large use of land mass, the use of chemicals on plants and more.

With the increase in demand for New Zealand wines, particularly Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, Tiraki is making an effort to prioritise value over volume as the amount of land to grow vines in the region decrease.

“The ability to continue to grow by volume must be nearing the end. If we instead focus on increasing the value of the wines produced and growing the recognition as premium wine producers hopefully will see continued success for our industry,” adds Hammond.

Read more: The growing world of B Corps

“By growing grapes using organic, biodynamic, regenerative viticultural techniques we believe we can make better wines that also reduce carbon emissions through lower synthetic inputs into the vineyard.”

With the New Zealand winemaking industry is relatively young compared to the rest of the world which spans decades of rich history, Tiraki is saying by becoming a B Corp winery, the rest of the country can follow suit and make a mark.

Tiraki and other wineries in New Zealand have worked together to improve the industry such as improving viticulture practices, winemaking techniques and marketing.

“Wine brands are looking to their peers to see what can be done to improve social and environmental impacts, good ideas are shared, discussions are positive and there is a general feeling that the industry is on a positive trajectory,” says Hammond.

“When surrounded by like-minded producers it definitely makes the changes we see as being necessary for the long term viability of our industry and environment seem achievable.”

The New Zealand scene and leaders are dedicated to fighting climate change especially as an agricultural industry that is “at the vagaries of the weather gods”.

“The faster we can decarbonise the faster we can do our bit to avoid catastrophic climate

change,” says Hammond.

By becoming the first B Corp winery in New Zealand, the Tiraki team hopes that this opens the path for others to follow.

“Throughout the New Zealand wine industry there are many examples of wine growers and producers doing good by their community and environment, whether it is through organic and regenerative viticulture, wetland restoration, carbon reduction or carbon zero programmes or B Corp,” says Hammond.

“We hope that these businesses will thrive and continue to grow as more consumers around the world make conscious decisions to buy sustainable products, which in turn will push more producers in the industry to follow more sustainable practices and result in an industry that has a smaller environmental impact and more positive social one that it currently has.”

Bernadette is a content writer across SCG Business titles. To get in touch with her, email [email protected]

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