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What Is beverage sustainability?
Welcome back to part seven of our Impact blog series at M. If you haven’t already, check out our other editions where we explored topics such as restaurant social responsibility.
If you’re from the UK, you’ll not need to be told that we’ve seen some of the highest recorded temperatures this past month. And no, before you make any presumptions, we aren’t here to lecture on the relevance to climate change or global warming. Rather, we are just looking to highlight beverage sustainability, wine sustainability and eco friendly wines. So open up a bottle, sit back and enjoy as we discuss sustainability in the beverage industry.
How do you make sustainable wines and beverages?
Whether it’s looking at supply chain, manufacturing, ingredients, packaging, logistics or disposal, there are a myriad of ways to drink sustainably. For M Restaurants, we started our ‘sustainable serves’ initiative. This is where we have dived deep into our suppliers and wineries, all to enhance our understanding of their eco-conscious processes. By vetting our suppliers, this means we can be more stringent in the selection process, only choosing partners who have credible and sustainable practices. In Glass Half Full, we have great pride in announcing that we stock truly sustainable beverages.
As a way to showcase our biodynamic, organic and natural partners, we’ve pinpointed them on each of our menus. Moving forward, we aim to enhance such initiatives, particularly when it comes to things like sustainable ingredients in cocktails. We also try to avoid importing items.
How do you drink sustainably?
We all want to make good choices when it comes to eco-friendly beverages, but it can be very difficult. With an eco-conscious mindset ever more present in the global sphere, businesses can no longer be caught slacking when it comes to their beverage sustainability initiatives. Customer demand will not allow it. To support businesses that do want to make a change, look out for their actions. Even simple things like providing sustainable cups and glasses go a long way to showcasing intent.
Are there such things as zero-waste cocktails?
Designing an environmentally friendly cocktail around zero-waste principles means ensuring there is as little waste as possible. In other words, that nothing ends up in the bin that doesn’t need to. Garnishes are a large part of the allure of cocktails. But they aren’t always edible, and are often made out of plastic – all to provide a bit of jazz to the experience. But they aren’t necessary and they aren’t sustainable, since they often just get thrown in the bin. To be more eco-friendly, try to only use garnishes that are edible. Think juicy yellow lemons, citrusy limes, and decadent chocolate. Even bits of marshmallow or sweets can do a job too. In short, there are plenty of ways to dress up cocktails in a way that doesn’t create unnecessary waste.
What does being ‘certified sustainable’ mean?
‘Organic’ and ‘Biodynamic’ are certified credentials that wine and drinks suppliers can achieve to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability. What do they represent? Well, these credentials indicate that the companies put environmental principles at the forefront of their farming practices. Here are the requirements they need to meet in order to be eligible for ‘Organic’:
Promotion of good healthy soils through land management, encouraging biodiversity
Protecting soils from erosion, planting additional crops and hedgerows that prevent it from drying out in the sun
Biodynamic is a next level accreditation. Why? It means that the supplier goes the extra mile when it comes to organic requirements. It’s actually has a definition: ‘a spiritual-ethical-ecological’ approach to agriculture, gardens, food production, and nutrition. For a vineyard to have this accreditation, they need to be seen as a part of nature and not a piece of land with the function to mass produce grapes. They are a seamless part of the environment, causing no harm, and even enhance the greenery. In short, the biodynamic certification shows that businesses prioritise sustainability above their commercial goals. That’s pretty cool, don’t you think?
How do you spot wine sustainability?
When it comes to wine sustainability, this refers to bottles that are created in eco-friendly vineyards. What makes such a vineyard? The main considerations are water conservation, energy conservation, and ecosystem preservation to local wildlife. To discover sustainable wine companies, all you need to do is look at the label and check for organic or biodynamic logos. If the place has been authenticated, you’ll see them there. Producers that prioritise wine sustainability are keen for you to know about their conscious practises, and often direct their audience towards their accreditations. So if you want a glass of sustainable red wine with your consciously-sourced steak, check the label.
What type of packaging allows you to drink sustainably?
Although it’s a functional necessity, sustainable packaging is a challenge. This is because transporting drinks with a variety of packaging has an affect on the drinks inside and their quality. Glass is an interesting one when it comes to sustainable packaging. Although glass can be easily recycled, the sheer weight of transporting the glass creates higher transport emissions and costs. This is a serious thing to consider, as the heavier the item, the more fuel it requires to move. For sustainable wines, glass is a must-use in order to maintain the quality of the drink.
Aluminium cans are also easy to recycle. They are also lightweight, sturdy and commonly used. However, some organisations don’t like to use this metal as some consumers see it as lower quality.
Finally, plastic bottles are the easiest to recycle. But the problem is, not all of them are. This is because there is complexity in making them out of different types of plastic. The other problem is that plastic is not biodegradable, and causes many problems in terms of ocean waste.
Why is sustainability in the food and beverage industry so vital?
To prioritise sustainable beverages and food, it is all about being resourceful in the source and supplier part of the princess. With an increasing population, decrease in land space and degradation in soil quality, it’s paramount that all industries consider introducing more eco-friendly sustainable practices. None more so than the food and beverage industry.
Climate change has a direct impact on agriculture. With the frequency of natural disasters like floods, droughts and extreme temperatures, food production has suffered. And due to more global demand, these issues are made worse by inconsiderate land management. Nutrients in our soil are lessening, which means the fertile status of land is decreasing with such pace that much of it cannot be used for farming ever again.
What’s the solution then? Enhance sustainability in the food and beverage industry by reevaluating our agriculture and land management practices. The first step to better practices alongside technological developments and regenerative farming is to heighten the esteem of organic certifications. While we have pride in our impact and sustainability efforts so far, we know that there’s still much work to be done. Going forward, we are looking to create a new project with our wine suppliers that will evaluate their eco-friendly practices. This will be done for every winner. Ultimately, we hope this will increase the number of sustainable beverages we can offer our customers.