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Sustainability at the Winery

Interview with Stefano Acciarri
Sustainability is the word on everyone’s lips. You hear it on the TV and radio, read about it in the papers and on the products displayed at the supermarket. It’s also a topic being discussed at our Winery. That's why we asked Stefano Acciarri, an agronomist and member of the board of directors, what sustainability means to Colli Ripani and how the theory is put into practice.  

Stefano Acciarri: Sustainability is now a key concept for our Winery; it’s one of the cornerstones of the company’s mission. The facts speak for themselves: more than half of our production comes from organically managed wineries with a minimal environmental impact.
D: How long has Colli Ripani been doing this? 
SA: We started our sustainability process more than 10 years ago. The first operation was the construction of a photovoltaic plant of around 150kW, with a further 50kW added this year. We also have an interesting ratio where the surface area of organic land is almost double that of conventional land, and where the number of conventional wineries is greater than organic ones. This means that the more modern wineries specializing in organic production have increased their cultivated area, and the goal of lowering CO2 emissions is achievable. For the Board, this approach demonstrates true awareness of the protection of the land; it’s not about trying to be green just because it’s fashionable. To support this awareness and certify our sustainability, the Winery has also installed IT systems such as Enogis (which Daniele Occhiodoro told us about in a previous article) and dedicated sustainability staff.
D: What are the medium to long-term goals Colli Ripani has set in terms of sustainability? 
SA: The main goal is to be competitive on the market, to ensure that members receive a fair income while respecting their work and their environment. We are also committed to changing the mindset of all operators across the chain by encouraging them to consider the actions that affect today, so that they do not compromise the future. Lastly, we encourage, help and support members wishing to embark on a transition process.
D: What are the smallest and greatest actions that may be considered sustainable in a wine cooperative?
SA: While it might seem small, the most important and time-consuming part è the control phase and process certification. The biggest action is raising the awareness of all the actors in the chain. Sadly there are still many who aren’t convinced that sustainability can guarantee a better market positioning. They think it’s a waste of time and that it’s better to stick with the status quo. I understand; change brings a degree of complexity that might seem unappealing. But implementing sustainable cultivation is the best way to secure a future for our children. And by future, I don't mean the work on the land, but life prospects and access to food.
D: Who are the key figures at the Winery that support the sustainability process? 
SA: Each member of the Board of Directors promotes change towards sustainability,, so they can be approached by all members of the cooperative. In addition to being on the Board of Directors, I’m an agronomist and work on certifications at the winery with the support of two technicians. I also provide advice and information, while overseeing the bureaucratic side of the certification procedures.

Thank you Stefano for your time and for underlining the importance of sustainability.