The Economics of Sustainability w/ Anna Brittain, Napa Green

As designer and Executive Director of sustainability non-profit Napa Green, Anna Brittain is passionate about taking action on the 7 pillars of sustainability. Spreading the word about how pursuing sustainability can save money is critical. Anna describes how she defines the 7 pillars of sustainability, what makes Napa Green unique, gives concrete examples of how wineries save money with sustainability, and the launch of the symposium Napa Thrives to accelerate the pace of action.   

Listen here.

Detailed Show Notes:

Definition of sustainability for agriculture has 6 pillars, now expanding to 7

  • 1. Water efficiency
  • 2. Energy efficiency
  • 3. Waste prevention and green purchasing
  • 4. Integrated pest management and biodiversity
  • 5. Social equity, diversity, and inclusion
  • 6. Climate action and regenerative agriculture
  • 7. Communications and engagement

Napa Green

  • 1 of 4 programs nationwide that have sustainability certification for vineyards and wineries
  • Addresses all parts of sustainability vs. 1 issue (most programs are only environmental; e.g., organic only for vineyards and not using synthetic pesticides)
  • ~15 programs globally that address sustainability holistically
  • Boots on the ground for direct support achieve more action
  • 90 wineries, 15k acres in the program
  • Policy vs. boots on the ground give very different perspectives
  • Certification requires >120 standards for wineries and >100 for vineyards

Economics of sustainability

  • Myth: sustainability will cost a lot of money -> it can actually help save money
  • Money-saving examples: 
  • Variable frequency drives for energy efficiency, 1-3 year payback
  • Turn down the water heater temp when you don’t need it super hot – save thousands on water and energy bills
  • Chateau Montelena – used Tooley Technologies for real-time data on water needs on an underperforming vineyard, saved $0.5-1M in improving the vineyard w/in a few years; phased out wooden boxes for wine to branded cardboard, reducing shipments from 5 to 2 (less space and weight), cut materials cost 50%, cut emissions, reduced wine breakage
  • ~50% of members have solar, but people don’t notice when inverters go down and don’t fix it until they see a high electric bill, it could save tens of thousands through monitoring and maintenance
  • Cakebread – focused on reducing waste, bought Big Belly solar trash compactors reducing trash pickups, saved ~$30k in first 3 years
  • Areas of opportunity: vineyards – develop a custom carbon farm plan (e.g., cover crop, compost, biodiversity, etc.), lays out how much carbon can be stored; compost is a big bang for the buck for carbon and water storage and nutrients; winery – water usage, including energy to transport, heat, and treat water, new regulations around wastewater also need consideration
  • ~30-50% of emissions from packaging and distribution

Best practice: think systematically, from vineyards to winery to getting wine to consumers; members often think of one-off projects vs. looking at the entire landscape

Marketing sustainability

  • Hosts ambassador training to get people talking about it
  • Potentially $1-3/bottle premium for organic/sustainable wines
  • Wineries are often willing to pay a premium to buy sustainably grown grapes

Napa Thrives – symposium w/ Martin Reyes MW

  • Goal is to accelerate the pace of sustainability and climate action

Making the commitment to third party certification takes time and effort, but it is worth it to demonstrate our commitment to the community and to protect our watershed, our land and the air we breathe.​

Economic benefits & ROI of workshops: In a time of changing consumer trends, we want you think of us as extended members of your team. We are here to help share information of ways to not only increase your sustainability but also share with you how these things bring with them ROI, decrease in cost, consumer approval & many other economic benefits. 

Join us at our All Things Bottle Sustainability Workshop to hear from our panel of experts. Registration is $20 and the link can be found in our profile. Cheers!
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📣 Don’t miss these events! 

April 26th - All Things Bottle Sustainability, Pine Ridge Vineyards, 9:00am.

May 23rd - The Future of Water Workshop, 9:00am. 

On April 26 we have 12+ speakers covering all aspects of climate smart glass and packaging. Digging in on the truly most sustainable recyclable/compostable/reusable options, with some product show and tell. 

On May 23 we have keynotes from two incredible speakers and internationally renowned experts: Peter Gleick, co-founder of the Pacific Institute and author of The Three Ages of Water, and Mimi Casteel, vineyard manager at Hope Well Wine and forest ecologist. 

Register now!
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Join us for a dinner that brilliantly combines luxury and sustainability with Vintner Kia Behnia, acclaimed Chef Dave Cruz and The Wine Bible Author, Karen MacNeil! 

This event will help Napa Green raise much needed funding to keep our non profit thriving. For more info head to the link in our bio or email!
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We invite you join us at a very special wine dinner with @karenmacneilco, Chef Dave Cruz and @neotempowines to raise funds for climate action in the wine industry. 

For further details please go to the link in our profile or email 

We hope to see you there. Cheers!
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Happy Earth Month! While our members celebrate the Earth every day of the year, this month is a great time to showcase those sustainability practices and tell consumers what you do to be green! Be sure to tag @napagreen in your posts, join us @earthdaynapa, and reach out for more ways to get involved!
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Meghan brings her passion for wine and sustainability together in her role as @napagreen’s social media manager. She is both a Vintner and Certified Sommelier and helps our members share their sustainability stories, emphasizing how caring for nature and community elevates both quality and guest experience. 

Thanks for your unwavering passion and dedication @mvino1!
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Join the @napagreen team this earth month at events around the valley at @cliffamily @earthdaynapa @silveroakcellars and more.

We look forward to talking (and drinking) sustainability with you!
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Say hi to @marisataylorwines, our Winery & Climate Specialist. Marisa has supported sustainable farming and green practices from vineyard to cellar and across all winemaking operations and continues to leverage her expertise to help wineries become climate action champions. 

Thanks for all you do!
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Last week we had a great climate smart burn and alternatives demonstration @gloriaferrerwinery where attendees learned techniques for a conservation/low-smoke burn with demonstrations from @thecleanburncompany and @napa.char. 

Additionally, speakers from @naparcd and Treasury Wine Estates presented the results from a recent vineyard biochar application research project. 

Learn more on our website.
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Have you met Sierra, our Climate & Soil Specialist? Sierra works tirelessly to advance climate resiliency in the Napa Valley by collaborating with growers to realize their climate action aspirations. 

Say hi to @growresiliently next time you see her in the field. Thanks for all that you do, Sierra!
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On average 40-60% of a vineyard and winery’s carbon footprint is from packaging and distribution alone. Join us to explore climate smart, sustainable glass, closures, the future of reusable glass, alternative packaging. Hear case studies. Learn what is truly recyclable, and new opportunities to recycle film wrap and label backing. Since 2020, climate smart marketed CPG products have doubled in sales to $3.4 billion. Wine bottles and packaging can be leveraged to meet rising consumer demand for climate smart products.

Get tickets to this workshop @pineridgewine to hear from @napagreen @consciouscontainer @revinobottles @keystonecapsules @cork_supply @neotempowines @estal_packaging @uppervalleydisposal @naparecycling and more!
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You may have seen Megan, our Winery Program Manager, out and about sporting her @napagreen shirt and talking about green practices. Utilizing her background in hospitality, sustainability and engineering she is dedicated in guiding businesses toward a more sustainable future. 

Thanks for all you do @love.dream.breathe!
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Join us for All Things Bottle Sustainability on Friday, April 26th. Link in bio to register!
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Cheers to @abrittain! Anna has worked locally, nationally and internationally on environmental management, including leading @napagreen and @naparise to the forefront of the wine industry climate action movement. 

Keep an eye out for her with our unofficial mascot, Lily, sharing our best practices, facilitating action and growing resilience in our industry and community. 

Thank you for all you do!
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