As an agriculture-based company, Constellation Brands relies on water, land and other resources for our continued growth and success. In order to safeguard natural resources, we are committed to serving as good stewards of the environment by ensuring that our facilities operate sustainably and by putting measures in place to help minimize our use of precious natural resources. Beyond our operations, this focus on sustainability is also critical to the people, communities and environments where we operate.
While we strive to elevate sustainable practices in every corner of our operations, three of our most passionate priorities are optimizing our water stewardship, limiting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and reducing waste.
We recognize the human right to water and sanitation, and given the nature of our business, water is an essential resource Water conservation and stewardship is a foundational pillar of our sustainability strategy. To maximize our beneficial impacts on the industry and the communities in which we operate, we partner locally, joining forces with businesses and building community relationships. That helps us to collectively increase site water efficiency, maintain source availability and quality, advance conservation efforts and report transparently.
We strive to boost water efficiency through continuous improvement. Our breweries in Mexico continue to invest in technology that drives the efficient use and recycling of water. In our Obregon brewery, for example, we updated equipment in the Water Recovery Plant, installed two new reverse osmosis units for the treatment of well water, and made other changes to lower water consumption and increase operational efficiency. These investments drove a reduction in the ratio of water consumption per hectoliter of beer produced from fiscal 2017 through fiscal 2020 in both our Obregon brewery (18% reduction) and the Nava brewery (13% reduction). The Obregon brewery’s wastewater treatment plant treats 100% of water from industrial and sanitary drainage, avoiding pollution to the soil and aquifer while supporting our commitment to comply with local water legislation.
Our winery and vineyard operation teams also have implemented new processes to optimize water use. In Napa Valley, our vineyards use new technologies to maximize water conservation and to ensure that vines only receive what they need, when they need it. This includes minimizing overwatering, excess run off, erosion, and unnecessary depletion of source supply, which we measure with soil monitoring devices and weather stations. These ongoing improvements in water management over time have led to the realization of significant water reductions across the Napa Valley vineyard complex. Compared to fiscal 2018, the collective Napa Valley vineyards used 51% less water than three years ago – representing more than 100 million gallons of water conserved.
Additionally, we support goals set by well-established entities such as the United Nations to guide our sustainability efforts and ensure we are keeping up with the latest priorities. Our water conservation and stewardship supports several United Nations Sustainable Development Goals:
As part of our commitment to protect the environment and the communities where we operate, we are decreasing our dependence on non-renewable energy sources whenever possible and reducing greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption. We continuously monitor our carbon footprint and have worked to effectively reduce emissions per liter of product produced. To help us track progress and understand continued opportunities, we track four major Greenhouse Gases (GHGs): carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in accordance with the international guidelines of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol developed by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). We express our carbon footprint in terms of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e)
Our vineyards actively work to reduce their footprint every day. Our Ruffino Group in Italy installed solar panel systems in the Tuscan estates of Gretole and La Solatia, with the potential to supply 75% of the electric energy in La Solatia estates. The Pontassieve winery also received certification from A2A Energia for its use of renewable energy sources.
As part of our ongoing efforts to reduce GHGs and to comply with changing environmental standards, our Gonzales Winery invested in a refrigeration system that is more energy efficient and does not deplete the ozone layer. This is achieved in large part by using ammonia refrigerant, which requires less electricity and is safer for the environment than the previously used R-22 refrigerant. To do our part in reducing our Carbon Footprint, we support three United Nations Sustainable Development Goals:
Waste is a part of any production process, and we are continually improving the ways we manage our waste to reduce the environmental impact of our waste generation, transportation and disposition. At our sites across the globe, our actions often involve composting, recycling, and diverting materials.
Our Nava and Obregon breweries in Mexico each diverted 99% of the waste produced in fiscal 2020 and our Ruffino Group applies the principle of continuous improvement to their waste management by reviewing their contracts with waste management companies annually. This exercise helps uncover further recycling opportunities and identify new ways to engage with dry goods suppliers (glass, corks, labels and cardboard) on waste reduction initiatives.
In the last two years, over 640,000 tons of by-products generated during production at Nava have been used by others in the region as feed for cattle, sheep, and pigs. The brewery also used alcohol residue generated during production of seltzers to make disinfectant gel that helps keep more than 4,000 employees in Mexico safe during the pandemic.
ENVIRONMENT, HEALTH, SAFETY & SUSTAINABILITY (EHSS) GLOBAL POLICY STATEMENT
Constellation Brands is committed to providing a safe and healthy working environment and developing a culture where every employee takes responsibility for their own safety as well as the safety of others while minimizing our impact on the environment in the communities where we live, work and source. Our management team and employees work together with a sense of shared responsibility to ensure that we operate our business in compliance with all applicable regulatory requirements in each market where we operate around the world.
As an agriculture-based company, environmental issues are not only important to us – they are an essential component to our continued growth and success. Because we rely on the land for our livelihood, it is critical that Constellation does all it can to ensure clean water, air and soil at all of our sites and in all of the countries and communities where we operate. Our aim is to look for ways to improve the environment, while also minimizing Constellation’s collective environmental impact.
We understand that much of what we do to advance sustainability can be amplified through our conservation and sustainability certifications and our participation in industry programs, which share a wide range of best practices and help us measure progress.
Enhancing our Sustainability Rigor Through Certification
“Biodiversity Friend” is a standard certification developed in 2010 by World Biodiversity Association to evaluate biodiversity and promote its conservation in agriculture. The procedure to obtain the certification considers the environmental impacts of the agricultural activities on the agrosystem and the biodiversity and suggests operational strategies to improve the environmental quality of the agriculture areas. Our Ruffino Group in Italy is certified under the Biodiversity Friend Certification.
All of our California wineries and vineyards are proud to be certified as part of the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance third-party Certification Program. The program is based on 227 best management practices and 58 prerequisites covering environmental practices and socially equitable business practices. The goals of the program are to enhance transparency, encourage statewide participation and advance the entire California wine industry toward best practices in environmental stewardship, conservation of resources and socially equitable business practices.
Fish Friendly Farming is a certification program for agricultural properties managed to restore fish and wildlife habitat and improve water quality. More than 1,300 acres of Constellation vineyards in Napa and Sonoma counties are certified in the Fish Friendly Farming program. The third-party certification is provided by the California Department of Fish and Game, regional water boards, and the National Marine Fisheries Service.
ISO 14001 is the world’s most recognized framework for environmental management systems. Earning certification to this standard highlights a facility’s commitment to reducing its environmental footprint. It also provides assurance to employees, customers and stakeholders that the company’s environmental impact is measured and continuously improved upon. The rigorous audit process addresses the elements of the ISO 14001 standard, assessing such issues as process effectiveness, internal communication practices and how aware employees are of environmental policies. Achievement of the ISO 14001 certification requires that a company have a culture of environmental responsibility, and a commitment to reducing its potential impact on the environment. Our Ruffino group facilities (Ruffino Srl and Tenute Ruffino Srl Società Agricola, situated in Tuscany and Poderi Ducali Srl Società Agricola in the Veneto Region (North of Italy)) are certified under ISO 14001:2015.
The Lodi Rules for Sustainable Winegrowing is a third-party certified sustainable winegrowing program, which promotes practices that enhance biodiversity, soil and water health, and community and employee well-being. To be certified, a grower must pass an independent audit of their viticulture practices.
Napa Green is a voluntary program focused on independently certified, environmentally sound farming and production methods that meet and exceed local, federal and state “best practices.” “Napa Valley vintners and growers develop farm-specific plans tailored to protect and enhance the ecological quality of the region. The Napa Green programs are open to all Napa County vintners and grape growers.” There are two certification programs: Napa Green Certified Land and Napa Green Certified Winery.
The National Quality System of Integrated Production (SQNPI) in Italy is aimed at the enhancement of agricultural and agri-food production. It provides for the certification of an integrated production process that combines good agronomic practices with a sustainable use of fertilizers and phytosanitary products, to meet the dual goals of strong agricultural practices and low environmental impact. Our Ruffino Group is certified under the SQNPI Certification.
All of our wineries in New Zealand are proud to be members of Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand, an industry group established in 1995. Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand provides members with environmental best practices for the vineyard and the winery, an external audit structure, and much more. The group also addresses consumer concerns about the environmental impacts of the products its members produce.
Constellation Brands is a member of the Beverage Industry Environmental Roundtable (BIER), a technical coalition of leading global beverage companies working together to advance environmental sustainability within the beverage sector. Through BIER, we work with other members to monitor and inform the development of climate change policy initiatives and work to ensure policy compliance through common guidance for calculating, tracking, and reporting sustainability impacts such as water security within the beverage sector. Our participation enables us to provide our industry’s unique perspective on water stewardship and climate change issues, while working collaboratively to develop best practices and industry guidance. Our Corporate Environmental Sustainability manager serves as a Member Chair in BIER.
DISCUS is the national trade association representing leading producers and marketers of distilled spirits products in the United States. Over the years, DISCUS has served as the distillers’ voice on policy and legislative issues in the United States’ capital, state capitals and foreign capitals worldwide. DISCUS sustainability strategies include land stewardship, responsible water use, energy reduction, Circular Material Syncing, waste reduction and evaluating transport burdens. Our Corporate Environmental Sustainability manager is a member of the DISCUS Environmental Sustainability Committee.
International Wineries for Climate Action (IWCA) is a collaborative working group of environmentally committed wineries focused on a science-based approach to reducing carbon emissions across the wine industry. Constellation Brands Fine Wine (U.S.), a member of IWCA, is comprised of four key wineries producing several iconic and well-known brands including Robert Mondavi, The Prisoner, To Kalon Wine Company and Schrader, to name a few.
Tennessee Sustainable Spirits (“Sustainable Spirits”) is a voluntary recognition and technical assistance program administered by The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation’s Office of Policy and Sustainable Practices. The program seeks to reduce operational costs and environmental impacts for wineries and wine growers, breweries, and distilleries as well as serve as a gateway to sustainability education through popular brands. It assists wineries and wine growers, breweries, and distilleries in improving operational sustainability by promoting best practices, providing technical assistance, and developing relationships. Our Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery is a member.
Our environmental stewardship goes beyond day-to-day operations and production, and extends to initiatives that our brands, people and consumers are passionate about.