To certify or not to certify: A qualitative investigation into producer sentiments surrounding sustainability certifications in the Spanish wine industry
Abstract: As the popularity of sustainably-produced wines continues to grow, wine producersare seeking to market sustainable practices through certification schemes, in order to gainadvantage in the competitive global wine industry. Though Spain contains the largest amountof land dedicated to vine growing globally and is home to over 4,300 wineries, the Spanishwine industry only has one industry-specific sustainability certification scheme, Wineries forClimate Protection, of which a mere 23 wineries are certified. In an attempt to explain this, aswell as to contribute to the lacking literature on sustainability certifications in the wineindustry, this paper introduces an investigation into the efficacy and producercomprehensibility of sustainability certifications. Through semi-structured interviews witheight professionals representing Spanish wineries both certified and non-certified throughWfCP, this paper examines the factors that either encourage or inhibit producers fromlabelling their wines as sustainable, as well as questions the environmental commitment ofcertified wineries. The study found an emphasis on the financial benefits that certification canbring to a winery, with little priority given to a winery’s environmental commitment.Additionally, the data suggested the exclusion of small-production wineries from theapparent benefits of certification. This paper argues the inadequacy of sustainabilitycertification schemes in the Spanish wine industry and emphasizes the need for furtherresearch into the creation of environmentally-focused, equally-advantageous sustainabilitycertification schemes in the global wine industry.
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