Allison Jordan - Executive Director of the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance
Allison Jordan is Vice President, Environmental Affairs for Wine Institute, a public policy association of nearly 1,000 California wineries and affiliated businesses. She also serves as Executive Director of the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, a non-governmental organization incorporated in 2003 by Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers to promote environmental and social responsibility in California – the fourth largest wine region in the world – through the Sustainable Winegrowing Program and Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing.
Allison Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:
The state of sustainability in the California wine industry
Benefits of sustainability for wineries and vineyards
New sustainability certification logo on wine bottles
Adopting the California Certified Sustainable Winegrowing framework for other industries
Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders
What is one piece of advice you would give other sustainability professionals that might help them in their careers?
I would say my best advice is to partner. Sustainability is so broad. It's challenging to be an expert in all of the areas, so building those alliances is important. In our case we have a joint committee, 50 growers and vintners and a board of directors that are actually made up of the vineyards and wineries. So we really rely on those partnerships for what we're doing and making sure that it's going to be valuable to the industry. We also rely on scientists from academic institutions, from NGOs with their expertise in certain areas, and other experts. That was important when we put the code together, when we develop certification, when we evolved certification to become a product logo out for the wine label in all areas. We relied on getting input from all of those key partners. Sustainability professionals are really bridge builders. We advanced that multi-sector approach when we're looking at both private and public problems.
What are you most excited about right now in the world of sustainability?
It's the mainstreaming of it. It's amazing to me that just how much we're able to move the mark as an industry where we have 4,700 wineries and were able to get this information out so it has a really big impact. The other part is, I'm a mom, and so I just am so excited about the work that my kids do to understand climate change and to be able to explain it so simply, and to go out and pull out invasive species and riparian habitat, and they're just incredible and give me a lot of inspiration.
What is the one book you'd recommend sustainability professionals?
I was thinking back to graduate school and all that I’ve read since. One of the most exciting ones I remember reading is the Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference.
What are some of your favorite resources or tools that really help you in the work that you do?
I'm so looped in with the wine industry, so I'm not sure how much of it would be for your broader listeners. I feel like there's so many great conferences and Sustainable Brands is one that just came to mind that I went to a couple of years ago when I hope to be able to go to again in Vancouver. It's really exciting to see what big brands are doing, but also what little ones are doing with the creativity that exists in the space. I would check out Sustainable Brands.
Where can our listeners go to learn more about you and the work that you're leading?
You can go to several different websites. We have www.sustainablewinegrowing.org .Which is the California sustainable wine growing alliance's website. It's detailed and it's full of resources for growers and vintners. You can also download the code and our regular sustainability reports as well as our new certification, our certification annual report. There's also www.discovercaliforniawines.com. That one is more about our consumer facing trade, facing website, about California wines in general. We have a great interactive, sustainable winegrowing section on that. If you're really interested, you can actually take a one hour free online course. Then if you pass a test at the end of it, you can actually download a customizable, little certificate that says, "You're a California Sustainable Wine Growing Ambassador. " It's a great way to learn a little bit more about us. Also, email@example.com is our general information website or email address. Also, in Facebook, you can just search for a California Sustainable Wine Growing Alliance, CSWA.