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.​

A live check in with @abrittain &!
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🌿 Did you know that less than 3% of philanthropic donations go to environmental work? 

Please consider donating to Napa Green this giving season with one of several ways at any level! 

Head to the link in our bio for details!
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With gratitude and joy, we wish you a beautiful day & start to the holiday season from all of us at Team Green! 

- Ben, Meghan, Anna, Marissa, Sierra & Megan
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‘If not here, where? If not now, when?’ 

“The onus is on us as a world class wine growing region to be leaders in sustainability & climate action.” 

- Executive Director of Napa Green, Anna Brittain
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It’s been a big week at Napa Green and we want to take a moment to raise a glass to salute you all. 

We are overjoyed to see so much support and invigorated interest in our mission towards sustainable practices and regenerative agriculture in the wine industry. 

We have many more details, paired with educational & financial resources that are already up and rolling on our website. We will continue to share them all, one by one and in great detail here on socials as well. 

For now please plan on joining us at our upcoming Town Hall meeting on Dec 7th at @stsupery. You can find more details at 

Cheers and Happy Friday Napa Valley. We are so proud to be a part of this amazing community!
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⚠️ Important Announcement 

Napa Green becomes the first sustainable wine growing certification to require the phaseout of Round Up. 

Please find the link in our bio for the full press release and full suite of info & grower resources. 

Join us on December 7th for our Napa Green Town Hall at @stsupery.
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Don’t miss the awe-inspiring @nikki_silvestri at @dominusestatewinery on Nov 30th!
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You’re invited to join us for a very special day at @dominusestatewinery on November 30th. 

We’ll be briefly interviewing our speaker @nikki_silvestri right here on Instagram today at 2:00pm PST to hear more about what to expect at this event. See you then.
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Curious to learn more? Join us at @dominusestatewinery on November 30th for a rare event and luncheon. Link in bio for details.
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GREEN is the new black this season!! 

Head to the link in our bio now and get your shirts, help a good cause and be an honorary part of Team Green this season! 💚
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Let’s hear it for our Executive Director of Napa Green, the incomparable Anna Brittain for being named a 2023 Wine Industry Leader by @winebusinessmonthly!! 

In their Sustainability Stewards section (which we love to see) we find Anna named in good company with inspired fellow leaders! 

Head to our stories or the link in our bio for free access to the full November issue. 

Cheers to the great work of our visionary Director Anna Brittain!!
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Drink Green this Halloween! 💚
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Sierra is our Soil & Climate Specialist at Napa Green and her ask this year is that everyone consider donating to our small but mighty Team Green for Giving Season! 

Here is more from @regenwithsierra: 

“🎃 Happy Halloween Eve everyone! Today is my birthday, and I would be beyond thrilled if you would consider a donation to @napagreen to support a nonprofit focused on climate action in the wine industry 🍷🍾

@napagreen has the leading set of standards for sustainable practices, from soil to bottle. I am most proud of the work we do with winegrape growers to adopt regenerative agricultural practices in their vineyards. 

Please consider supporting us in our mission!  Click the link in bio for more! “
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Thank you for having us @visitnapavalley! We had a great time talking to visitors about the many sustainability practices our Napa Green wineries and vineyards employ! 

Stop into the Visit Napa Valley Visitor Center in Napa to learn more!
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