Julien Gervreau - Director of Sustainability at Jackson Family Wines

Julien Gervreau - Director of Sustainability at Jackson Family Wines

Julien Gervreau is a Sonoma County, Calif. native whose career in the wine industry has spanned over 13 years. In his role as Director of Sustainability at Jackson Family Wines, Julien focuses on setting strategies and tactical implementation of water and energy efficiency, onsite renewable energy generation, GHG emissions reductions, and waste diversion. He also works closely in communicating JFW’s commitment to sustainability in the marketplace through sales and distribution channels, as well as activating employee engagement.

Julien is passionate about designing, developing and managing sustainable business systems that enhance the triple bottom line of economic growth, environmental sustainability, and social equity. He employs integrated systems thinking, financial analysis and documented sustainability frameworks to guide business strategy that fosters healthy, more resilient entities, and drives operational savings.

Julien Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

  • Jackson Family Wine's practices to build water resiliency in their operations

  • Leading Zero Waste in a large organization

  • Supply chain sustainability and regenerative agriculture

  • Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders

Julien's Final Five Question Responses:

What is one piece of advice you would give other sustainability professionals that might help them in their careers?

I was at a conference in October of last year that was hosted by Net Impact and one of the keynote speakers was a gentleman named Derek Kayongo and he's a former refugee who has built some very exciting social benefit businesses over the years, and his advice when he was speaking to this group at Net Impact, which is essentially an organization that's focused on helping young people find purpose in their careers, was very simple and it deems repeating here. He basically says there's two components to it. The first is figure out what you're good at and the second is figuring out what you're passionate about. And from there you can find a place within any organization and make a difference because at the end of the day, there are very few people who actually have the word sustainability in their title. But everybody ultimately has the opportunity to positively influence their organization's sustainability program.

What are you most excited about right now in the world of sustainability?

I think what I was talking about with regard to our carbon mapping exercises is just really exciting and as I explore just what one company can potentially do with the land that we own and you start to think about extrapolating that across vast swaths of this state, of this country and of this planet, it gets me excited to see that there are people thinking about these solutions. I think the challenge is figuring out how we can change our structure from a financial standpoint and really stimulate investment in things like planting trees and spreading compost. I think the big challenge of today and tomorrow is to figure out how you can make the business case for things like that.

What is one book you would recommend sustainability leaders read?

I would recommend two. Kind of the most recent book that I've read that really kind of blew my hair back was, was Paul Hawkins Drawdown. I really enjoyed the way in which it's presented in terms of being a solutions-oriented book and ultimately as Paul Hawkins said, he just did the math. So there's a lot of really great stuff in there. I also liked Danella Meadows Thinking In Systems, because ultimately as you go into any organization, you pull on one string and it's going to unravel another part of something somewhere else. And it's just really important as a sustainability practitioner to understand the entire system of anything that you're looking at impact.

What are some of your favorite resources or tools that really help you in the work that you do?

From a water budgeting and footprinting standpoint, the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance has a really great tool that ultimately helps you kind of get to that cost of water and understand where your sources and uses of water are so you can identify and start to prioritize your conservation efforts. The Beverage Industry Environmental Roundtable also has a similar tool that is not wine industry specific, but it's beverage industry specific. So for those those colleagues kind of working in beer, wine and spirits, I highly recommend checking out either one of those tools.

And finally working on our listeners go to learn more about you and the work that you're leading at Jackson Family Wines.

Our corporate website is www.Jacksonfamilywines.com, and that the bottom of the homepage there's a CR sustainability progress button and you can actually click on that. What we're doing throughout the course of 2018 is releasing progress updates on our 2016 sustainability report. So the goal is by the end of this year, we will have a monthly progress reports on each of the 11 goals that we've established from a sustainability standpoint and that will then inform kind of our next iteration in our next update on our sustainability progress for 2018.