Massmart recognises Backsberg for their commitment to environmental sustainability

Tread Lightly by Backsberg RoseBacksberg was honoured to attend an event in Rosebank, Johannesburg, hosted by Massmart, to acknowledge local suppliers for their ongoing commitment, exceptional performance and implementation of environmentally-sustainable business operations.

Using 35 environmental indicators Massmart successfully assessed and surveyed 494 suppliers in the last five years. Areas that Massmart profiled were: packaging rationalisation, water conservation, operational energy efficiency, environmental product attributes, third party certification and biodiversity impact mitigation. The winners were selected based on an environmental assessment survey, stakeholder input from leading environmental NGOs and site visits to verify their survey feedback. The finalists of the inaugural 2014 Massmart Environmental Awards include Mondi, Sappi, York Timbers, Harlequin Paints, Aspen, Sea Harvest, I&J, Eveready and of course, Backsberg Estate Cellars.

This initiative applauds responsible environmental practices in Massmart’s supply chain. Group Sustainability Manager, Alexander Haw, comments: “We know that Massmart plays a connecting role between suppliers and customers.  Our supplier engagement programme enables us to share environmental good practice between different suppliers and allows us to benchmark their performance against that of their peers. We hope in this way to promote sustainable change. We believe opportunities exist to work closely with our suppliers to implement programmes that support more sustainable supply and consumerism”

Backsberg is unique in being the only South African winery, and one of three in the world, that became carbon neutral in 2006. A comprehensive carbon audit was carried out and various eco-friendly programmes are ongoing to maintain this status. Activities such as tree planting, energy-saving, alternative fuel and energy creation, efficient farming and winemaking practices all contribute to the farm’s effort of reducing its carbon footprint.

In addition, Backsberg believes it is equally important to develop more conservation-oriented practices by becoming more energy efficient for long-term sustainability. This includes conversion to biofuel, setting aside land for development of additional biomass, reviewing packaging, and the development of methane digester technology.

BacksbergBacksberg has also achieved champion status under the Biodiversity and Wine Initiative (BWI) based on its commitment to preserving the endangered Fynbos biome. Ten percent of the land has been reserved for non-development and several plant species have already been rescued from extinction.

In 2010 Backsberg introduced its Tread Lightly range, which is bottled in plastic bottles (PET) and is fully recyclable. These wines offer the same quality as Backsberg’s glass-bottled wines and are ideal for active, outdoor lifestyles, since they are lighter and not subject to breakage. As South Africa’s first Carbon Neutral wine estate, Backsberg is mindful in how its wine production affects the environment. Fourth-generation Backsberg owner, Simon Back, is pleased to have received this honorary nomination and says: “It is fantastic to be recognised for our environmental contributions. We commend Massmart for engaging with its suppliers and encouraging them to be more mindful and active in carrying out environmentally-friendly production and distribution practices. We look forward to seeing many more South African brands operating under this helm.”

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