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Champagne House flags up green intent

Published:  23 July, 2008

Champagne House Vranken-Pommery Monopole (VPM) has made clear its green intentions with the release of a new report.

The ethics charter, which comprises six values and 18 pledges, highlight's the company's commitment to sustainable development and social responsibility for its entire range of champagnes, port wines and light wines.

In the report on environmental ethics and governance - believed to be the first ever produced by a Champagne house - it has set out its moves to reduce its environmental impact and gain the double certification of ISO 9001 and the environmental ISO 14001 for its Champagnes.

The document also states VPM's future aims and goals; spelling out its policy on environmental ethics and its social commitment, which encompasses all levels of the winemaking process - from the vineyards to water efficiency, waste management and packaging.

The values cover: environmental protection, product quality assurance, anticipating requirements, people management, communication with stakeholders, and sharing expertise.

Pledges include the promise to extend the certification process to all members of the group; to limit the environmental impact of the production process; and to pass on its passion and know-how to younger generations.

Specific improvements made by VPM over the last few years include the implementation of sustainable vine-growing methods instead of insecticides in order to limit vineyard damage caused by insects. There has also been a concerted focus on water efficiency, resulting in a reduction in both water and fuel consumption in the Aube region of Champagne.

Other changes include the use of natural predators -falcons and Harris buzzards - to protect the Reims vineyards against starlings, rather than nets; and the use of lighter-weight bottles, and morerecycled boxes.

VPM is aiming to further reduce the environmental impact of its production sites, specifically water consumption. In addition, it is looking towards Champagne using renewable sources of energy; and for its Jarras site, which produces still wines, to gain ISO 9001 and ISO 14001, as well as the

European eco-tourism label.