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Sustainable Wineries: SWBC Standard
The SWBC Program Certification is a voluntary scheme based on accepted best practices and customized to accommodate to characteristics and needs of the wine industry of British Columbia.

*This form is intended to gather input from industry stakeholders. There is space to provide your feedback under each criteria. If you have any questions or require additional information, please contact: info@sustainablewinegrowingbc.ca

Section A.1. Compliance with applicable law and regulations
Expected outcome A.1. Applicable federal, provincial, regional and local law and regulations that are relevant to this standard are complied with.
A.i. Wineries identify all laws, regulations, and requirements that are applicable to their operations, their region and the content of this standard and understand how to comply with them.
Your answer
A.ii. Wineries’ operations are not in violation of national, provincial, or local laws that are relevant to this standard, or any associated administrative rules or requirements as determined by regulatory agencies through an enforcement action.
Your answer
A.iii. Wineries can demonstrate compliance with relevant laws and regulations. Documental evidence is kept for at least five years.
Your answer
Section A.2. Commitment with sustainability
Expected outcome A.2. Time and resources are allocated to support and enable the transformation of their facilities into sustainable production systems.
A.iv. Wineries have formally integrated sustainability into the business strategy (e.g., company mission, vision, values), and have included the sustainability commitment/policy in employee orientation and handbook (if applicable); including: a) description of the winery policies and procedures; b) description of sustainability policies and goals; c) a physical orientation (tour) to workplace facilities and processes; and d) job descriptions and the applicable health and safety procedures to be followed.
Your answer
A.v. Wineries set an annual budget for sustainability continuous improvement actions and environmental stewardship.
Your answer
Section B.1. Water quality and efficient use
Expected outcome B.1. Water use efficiency is maximized within the wineries’ facilities.
B.i. Wineries identify all water sources used for the winery, including surface and groundwater, and all permanent and seasonal water courses, wetlands, and other aquatic ecosystems and their related protection zones within their properties.
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B.ii. Wineries implement water pre-treatment mechanisms to ensure all parameters are within the optimal ranges based on the results of water analyses.
Your answer
Section B.2. Efficient cleaning processes
Expected outcome B.2. Best practices and mechanisms for cleaning are implemented to reduce water use while cleaning and sanitizing facilities and equipment, decreasing the risk of releasing harmful chemicals into the environment.
B.iii. Wineries implement measures and mechanisms to save water during the cleaning processes within their facilities, such as: a) installing spring-loaded shut-off nozzles on all cellar hoses; b) using spray balls or other rotating devices with low-flow recirculated solution to sanitize and rinse tanks; c) pre-cleaning crush operations, equipment and floors using combinations of brushes, push brooms, and squeegees to prevent grape residues from drying over equipment surfaces before the general wash down; and/or d) cleaning cellar floors and equipment with high pressure, low volume cleaning devices with spring-loaded shut-off nozzles.
Your answer
B.iv. Wineries implement standard operating procedures (SOPs) for tank and barrel cleaning that maximize water use efficiency.
Your answer
B.v. Wineries include water efficient equipment cleaning SOPs as part of the continuous improvement training plan (Criterion A.5). Wineries train all relevant staff in how to implement and monitor their equipment cleaning SOPs and ensure that trainings and procedures are translated for those members of staff not fluent in English.
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Section B.3. Improvement of outdoor water use efficiency
Expected outcome B.3: Landscaped areas and other greenspaces are designed and maintained to reduce water consumption and improve the efficiency of water use.
B.vi. Wineries implement measures to improve the efficiency of water use outdoors for landscaping, such as: a) watering during early morning, pre-dawn hours or at night, when evaporation is lowest; b) using mulching around plants and trees to retain moisture; and/or c) adjust irrigation schedules each season and avoid watering during the rainy season.
Your answer
B.vii. Wineries regularly inspect all outdoor water distribution systems to: a) repair any broken or defective sprinkler heads/nozzles, meters, and water pipes, lines and valves; and b) verify that heads/nozzles are the proper rating/type for that application and are positioned to prevent hardscape areas form being sprayed.
Your answer
Section B.4. Responsible management of wastewater
Expected outcome B.4. Wastewater generated within the wineries’ facilities is managed to minimize risks to humans, the environment, and biodiversity.
B.vii. Wineries demonstrate that wastewater discharges from processing operations, greywater, and sewage and treatment systems follow applicable laws and regulations and are treated to avoid negative effects to environmental and human health.
Your answer
B.viii. Wineries demonstrate that the on-site wastewater treatment system can handle peak flows.
Your answer
Section C.1. Energy use baselines and efficiency improvement
Expected outcome C.1. Energy use is monitored to analyze consumption and identify efficiency and savings opportunities.
C.i. Wineries calculate and establish an energy consumption baseline. The baseline includes information about both electricity and fuel consumption (heating oil, diesel and gas for vehicles) for all functional areas or operations.
Your answer
Section C.2. Management of lighting and winery equipment for energy efficiency
Expected outcome C.2: Lighting and equipment efficiency is improved to reduce overall energy consumption .
C.ii. Wineries schedule and complete maintenance activities (and keep written records of them) for: a) vehicles and other machinery running on fuel; b) refrigeration systems, at least twice a year; c) air compressors and air lines, at least once a year; and d) heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC), at least twice a year, including: cleaning or replacing filters on heating and air-conditioning units; cleaning air-conditioning condenser coils; and maintaining proper function of economizers on air-conditioning units.
Your answer
C.iii. Wineries conduct routine inspections for glycol temperature settings and ensure they are reset after cold stabilization.
Your answer
Section D.1. Reduced waste generation
Expected outcome D.1. Best practices for waste management are implemented to reduce the amount of waste generated.
D.i. Wineries reduce the amount of paper they use, by implementing actions such as a) establishing double-sided printing and reduced document margins as the standard practice, if printing is needed; b) encouraging digital documents for all in-house uses, including the documentation requirements of this standard; c) using electronic billing methods to invoice customers and receive payments; and/or d) signing up for electronic banking and e-statements.
Your answer
D.ii. Wineries eliminate the use of bottled water for staff and customers, and instead provide water fountains or coolers with reusable or compostable glasses and cups.
Your answer
Section D.2. Waste management plan
Expected outcome D.2: Waste streams generated within the wineries are managed to minimize environmental and human health risks.
D.iii. Wineries design and develop a waste management plan that: a) identifies and quantifies the different types of waste generated within their facilities; b) identifies the applicable laws and regulations regarding each specific type of waste; c) defines specific management actions for each type of waste, including actions for collection, classification, and disposal, and the composting of organic processing residues, landscape trimmings, and food waste when possible; d) designates specific areas on site for collecting, separating, storing, and composting waste, as applicable; e) define specific procedures and emergency plans for spill containment and cleanup processes; f) identifies haulers and recyclers that are qualified and authorized by authorities to handle waste and include activities to verify that waste handlers are not dumping waste illegally; g) defines periodic waste reduction and diversion goals and communicates progress to staff to encourage further actions and receive feedback; h) includes periodic internal audits to assess waste management activities, keep track of progress towards defined goals, and adjust the plan accordingly.
Your answer
D.iv. Wineries keep waste container areas protected from water and other elements to prevent contamination and leachate runoff.
Your answer
D.v. Wineries store safely all unwanted, unused, and expired hazardous waste and substances according the recommendations on their label or material safety data sheets (MSDS) until they can dispose of them safely or return them to the supplier.
Your answer
D.vi. Wineries ensure that all hazardous waste is: a) stored in a secure manner with controlled access; b) stored within containment structures in the case of liquid wastes, with nearby access to spill contention and clean up equipment; c) stored separately to minimize hazards. For example, corrosives are not stored near flammable wastes; d) not stored near water bodies and open drains, or on bare ground; e) handled in compliance with all federal, provincial and local regulations; and f) either collected or taken to a designated facility, for recycling or correct final disposal.
Your answer
Section D.3. Sustainable purchasing process
Expected outcome D.3: A sustainable purchase process is developed and implemented to increase the purchase of sustainable goods and reduce waste.
D.23. Wineries design and implement a written sustainable purchasing policy that: a) prioritizes products associated with waste that represents the biggest shares of total waste generation; b) establishes criteria for selecting products and suppliers based on waste management and reduction goals and the possibility of reducing incoming sources of waste, such as packing materials, or increasing the possibilities of waste diversion, such as through supplier recycling, potential reuse, or the possibility of biodegradable materials; c) includes the review of product and supplier selection criteria at least annually and provides for adjustments to better achieve waste reduction goals: d) includes training activities for staff members working in procurement; and e) is communicated to all staff members and suppliers.
Your answer
Section E.1. Reduced GHG emissions
Expected outcome E.1: Overall greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions are reduced.
E.i. Wineries take actions for the conservation and restoration of local natural carbon sinks such as forests, riparian lands; peatlands, and grasslands.
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E.ii. Wineries do not burn any waste nor construction debris [this does not include vineyard or landscaping debris].
Your answer
Section E.2. Safe and reduced use of hazardous substances
Expected outcome E.2: Hazardous substances are handled in a manner that reduces associated environmental and human risks.
E.iii. Wineries design and implement pest control practices for both indoor and outdoor areas. For those cases where a pest control service is contracted, wineries specify in their contracts that: a) use of IPM is mandatory, including non-chemical pest prevention with no perimeter spraying; and b) suppliers are expected to provide documentation to support all the pest control actions taken by the contractor on a yearly basis.
Your answer
E.iv. Wineries ensure that all handling of hazardous substances complies with all federal, provincial, and local regulations.
Your answer
E.v. Wineries have a complete inventory of each hazardous substance present in their facilities, including: a) name and active ingredient. b) intended use. c) dates, place, volumes, and rates of applications. d) material safety data sheets (MSDS). e) disposal methods.
Your answer
E.vi. Wineries store hazardous substances in a locked facility with restricted access.
Your answer
E.vii. Wineries have written procedures for spill containment and cleanup included in their emergency response protocols. These procedures are available in the areas where hazardous substances are handled and to staff in charge of handling them.
Your answer
Section F.1. Employee training
Expected outcome F.1: Staff members have the necessary skills and knowledge to carry out their tasks efficiently and safely and contribute to the sustainability of the winery operations.
F.i. Wineries create a written employee handbook and guarantee that all employees have free access to it. It must include at least the following elements: a) company mission, vision, and values, including the commitment to sustainability and sustainable practices; b) job descriptions and company standards and regulations; c) training and development policies; d) employee evaluation processes, grievance policy, and disciplinary actions; e) harassment and discrimination policies; f) policies and processes for communicating concerns and suggestions about workplace or working conditions; g) salary, benefits and incentives; h) health and safety policies and practices; and i) a handbook review and update schedule. The handbook is part of employee orientation content.
Your answer
F.ii. Wineries develop and implement an emergency response protocol that includes: a) written procedures to address emergency situations within the winery facilities; b) information about handling of hazardous substances; and c) preparedness for disasters and extreme weather events.
Your answer
F.iii. Wineries assign an annual budget line item for to fund their Continual Training Plan, dollarized or in-kind.
Your answer
F.iv. Wineries implement a system to encourage employees to submit suggestions or concerns about workplace conditions, such as safety conditions, job training, employee development opportunities, business performance, and operational efficiencies, without fear of retributions or negative repercussions.
Your answer
F.v. Wineries make trade journals, industry newsletters and other learning and knowledge resources available to the management team and employees.
Your answer
Section F.2. Workers health and Safety
Expected outcome F.2: Occupational health and safety risks for workers and visitors are addressed to prevent and minimize accidents and associated health problems.
F.vi. Wineries develop and implement a health and safety program that: a) is developed according to industry standard resources and is based on a risk analysis of production activities and tasks; b) includes all the requirements of applicable law and regulations; c) is adjusted to the operations size and type.
Your answer
F.vii. Wineries place warning signs for potential hazards throughout their facilities, and make sure that the signs are in a language that is understood by workers and visitors.
Your answer
F.viii. Wineries provide personal protection equipment (PPE) free of charge to workers according to the identified health and safety risks for the tasks. Workers are trained in the proper use of PPE and are required to use it while carrying out task with identified risks. Employees that handle hazardous substances and chemicals: a) receive, at no cost, personal protective equipment (EPP) as indicated by the label of the substances applied or handled or the material safety data sheet (MSDS), whichever is stricter; and b) have access to facilities to bathe and change their clothes after finishing working with these substances and before leaving the workplace at the end of the workday.
Your answer
Section F.3. Workers salaries and benefits
Expected outcome F.3. Workers are paid decent salaries and receive additional benefits.
F.ix. Wineries ensure that all salaries are at or above the market value for the region according to each type of job and position. Under no circumstance, workers’ salaries will be lower than the established minimum wage for the region.
Your answer
Section F.4. Neighbours and community
Expected outcome F.4: Mechanisms are implemented to minimize negative impacts on neighbours and local communities and engage them to leverage potential improvement and sustainability opportunities.
F.x. Wineries actively engage with neighbours and local communities, inform them about their operations and about the sustainable practices implemented, and identify and document relevant concerns about their operations.
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F.xi. Wineries implement a procedure for making information regarding upcoming changes in relevant operations available to neighbours, community members, and other relevant stakeholders in a consistent and timely fashion.
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F.xii. Wineries manage work place conditions to avoid noise and visual pollution of their surroundings.
Your answer
G.Eco-Efficient and Sustainable Winery Infrastructure.
Expected outcome G.1. Wineries ensure that all new constructions and renovations are designed under sustainability and efficiency principles.
G.i. Wineries ensure that the design and construction of new infrastructure, or the renovation of existing infrastructure, is overseen by at least one competent professional with experience in the design of eco-efficient and sustainable buildings.
Your answer
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