A Look in the Mirror: What’s Most Important In Defining Sustainability

Last week we began the conversation about who wine consumers are based on our research into their environmentally and socially responsible purchasing attitudes and behaviors. This week we look at what consumers said were the most important factors in defining sustainable companies or products.

We found that what concerns wine consumers most are environmental issues, but it’s interesting to see how societal issues are becoming more important than ever before.

The top five most important factors in defining sustainability are nearly tied. This reflects growing awareness of the complex issues that affect our planet. Topping the list is the protection of natural habitats and endangered species. People really understand that protecting our ecosystem is critical to both biodiversity and maintaining an earth that can provide for humanity into the future.

The use of recycled and recyclable materials ties in with waste reduction as ways to reduce the amount of stuff we use and what we do with it when our stuff is used up. Conserving energy and reducing greenhouse gases are becoming more important to people as the discussion about climate change has evolved from theoretical to practical considerations.

On the social front, employee safety and welfare is now important to more people than ever before as the awareness of working conditions of employees around the world hits the new headlines. Lastly, community volunteerism and charitable giving are important to many wine consumers. These social factors have become more important as the economy has shifted and consumers expect companies to not just focus on profits, but to be an extension of the people they employ and the communities they operate in.

I think its great the awareness and concern for these issues have been raised to this high level of concern for wine consumers. We’ve been working hard on these issues and feel like we’ve made some real strides in leadership. That being said, sustainability is a journey, not a destination, and we’re enjoying the trip learning how to do things in new and better ways all the time.