Australian and New Zealand wine companies invited to take part in pioneering global initiative

Posted by Isobel Drake on 19th December 2008

As the global trend towards bulk wine exportation and the use of lighter weight bottles continues to grow, a groundbreaking cross-industry project led by UK government-funded WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) is seeking partners from Australia and New Zealand, who are involved in supplying wine to the UK, to take part in this new global initiative. The project has already achieved considerable cost and environmental benefits across the UK market.


With the UK currently representing the largest export market for both Australian and New Zealand-produced wine, accounting for 36% and 33% of total exports respectively, it is becoming increasingly important for the wine industry to respond to UK trends and market drivers. Bulk exportation and the use of lighter weight bottles has already enabled growers, bottle manufacturers and fillers, agents, brand owners and retailers to significantly reduce transportation costs, achieve CO2 reductions and effectively position themselves in the competitive UK market. For instance, bulk exportation can double the amount of wine shipped in a standard container – reducing CO2 emissions and costs by up to 40%. It also allows the supply chain to specify and use the UK’s widely-available supply of green recycled glass in its bottles, WRAP reports.

Participants will be able to draw on the invaluable experiences gained from the first phase of the project, which saw industry leaders in the UK, such as the UK’s largest retailer Tesco, Constellation Europe and Fosters EMEA, increasing bulk importation and the use of lighter weight bottles. This pioneering activity has diverted 11,500 tonnes of glass from the UK waste stream due to lightweighting initiatives. It has also resulted in an additional 80 million glass bottles of wine being filled in the UK – which in turn has increased the use of recycled green glass.

“This pioneering project offers companies involved in exporting to the UK an excellent opportunity to pull together and benefit from material, supply chain and commercial savings – and respond to UK consumer pressure to reduce packaging,” Nicola Jenkin, Beverages Category Manager at WRAP, commented. “The Australian wine industry has already taken steps to reduce its environmental impact, with leading Australian wine brand Wolf Blass by Fosters having already undertaken bulk importation and the use of lighter weight bottles. We are now keen to hear from others who wish to grasp this opportunity and get involved.”

The project’s Steering Group will be chaired by Sally Easton MW, a respected industry expert and commentator, who reported that the benefits to the environment coincided with a benefit to sales. “The wine industry has been enormously proactive over the past few years, exploring ways to reduce the environmental impact of international trading, and wines with an environmental and ethical message are performing increasingly well. This pioneering initiative now offers companies an opportunity to play a part in developing global best practice – pulling together to achieve real change,” she concluded.