Champagnes Piper-Heidsieck, Charles Heidsieck & Rare Champagne, part of the family-owned EPI Group, have announced today the three producers have achieved B Corp certification status, one of the most demanding sustainability certification to achieve.
This makes the three Champagne brands the first among its peers in the French wine region to achieve the status.
B Corp certification is one of the most demanding to obtain, assessing the social and environmental impact of each brand with more than 200 questions as defined by B Lab, covering governance, employees, communities, and the environment. B Corp Certification involves being accountable to all stakeholders, not just shareholders, and being transparent by allowing information about one’s performance to be measured against B Lab standards and publicly available on its B Corp profile on the B Lab website.
B Corp certification does not just assess a product or service. It assesses the overall positive impact of the company that supports it and engages it in a process of continuous improvement.
According to Damien Lafaurie, President & CEO of Champagnes Piper-Heidsieck, Charles Heidsieck & Rare, as well as the Wine and Champagne division of EPI Group: “We are very proud to join this community of pioneers who are driving a global movement of people using business as a force for good and transforming the global economy for the benefit of all individuals, communities as well as the planet. We are honored to be the first producers in Champagne to achieve Certified B Corporation status and are fully committed to B Lab’s vision of working towards an inclusive, equitable and regenerative economic system. We hope to inspire others in the wine industry to join the cause!”
“I am particularly proud of the tremendous work accomplished by the teams at Champagnes Piper-Heidsieck, Charles Heidsieck & Rare to achieve the profound transformation required for B Corp certification, and we will only continue to improve moving forward,” adds Lafaurie. “My hope is that our particular approach will stimulate collective initiatives within the Champagne appellation concerning both social and environmental issues.”
The main protagonist who fought hard for the three houses to become certified was Piper-Heidsieck’s chef de caves, Émilien Boutillat, who became chef de caves at Piper in 2019 at age 32 following in the footsteps of Régis Camus.
He was part of a team of three along with Mathilde Goyard (Human Resources Manager) and Céline Dorleans (Corporate Social Responsibility Manager) who brought this to fruition.
The concrete initiatives taken by the Houses to achieve B Corp certification include:
- Integrating a purpose in the status of the company, and becoming therefore a benefit corporation aiming to create a material positive impact on society and the environment
- Reducing the carbon footprint in line with the Paris climate agreement by 61% in absolute on scope 1 and 2 and by 46% in intensity per bottle produced on scope 3 by 2030 by joining the Science-Based Targets initiative and achieving net-zero carbon well before 2050
- Launching a drastic energy saving programme (-40% by 2025), eliminating completely the use of fossil fuels in production activities, and using 100% renewable electricity
- Moving 100% of suppliers to Europe by 2030
- Continuing sustainable environmental practices in their owned vineyards. The Houses currently use zero herbicides, zero pesticides, zero chemicals to treat rot, and zero CMR products. They also advocate the use of organic amendments, vitiforestry and all initiatives that promote biodiversity in the vineyards.
- Supporting the VDC (Sustainable Viticulture in Champagne) conversion of all winegrower partners by 2025
- Introducing sustainable development objectives for every single employee to accelerate the spread of best practices in all sectors and at all levels of the company
- A continued commitment to gender parity at every level of the organisation
- Encouraging a wide variety of employees by focusing on inclusion as well as the hiring of young talent from diverse backgrounds, as well as supporting “Nos Quartiers ont des Talents”.
According to B Lab, there are currently 5537 Certified B Corporations in 84 countries and across 157 industries.
Other wineries that have achieved B Corp status include Portugal’s Symington Family Estates, Viña Concha y Toro in Chile and Italy’s Tenute Capaldo Group to name a few.