Post Cop27 – Adapting to a warmer world

Adapting to a warmer climate

The reality of a warmer world means we will all have to confidently face the challenges climate change brings.


In the past two articles, we explored the ways in which we can take action to protect our planet by reducing emissions and developing biodiversity.


But there is no denying our planet is warming up, and we must be ready for it.


To effectively tackle the ongoing effects of climate change, we need to be adaptable. Businesses must be malleable to the concerns of the planet whilst remaining secure and profitable in the long term.


So, when crisis comes, our lives and livelihoods will not be fully at the mercy of the elements.


Here are some of the ways that the drinks industry is already adapting for the future:


Water Conservation

Dwindling water supplies are being seriously affected by rising temperatures, floods, and droughts.


The drinks industry is heavily reliant on water at every point in the supply chain – from growing raw materials to production processes – everything is water intensive.


Therefore, it is imperative that businesses invest in water management technologies for the future and become more conscious of their water footprint.


There are many ways businesses can start tackling this issue, such as decreasing water consumption during distillation, cleaning, and cooling, and employing recycling technologies that reuse wastewater. Treating water onsite for pollutants and harnessing innovative technologies that predict weather outcomes are also important, the latter will help regulate the use of groundwater and natural resources for irrigation.


Nestle Cero Agua (Zero Water) is an example of water recycling that does not rely on external water sources. By recycling and reusing the waste fluid extracted from milk, little water has been wasted on non-food production applications like cooling, irrigating and cleaning.


PepsiCo and Coco-Cola have developed and promoted drip irrigation: a system designed to minimise evaporation in water scarce areas which lead to significant water conservation.


However, starting small is the best way for most businesses with smaller budgets. This could mean focusing on installing flow meters or leak detection systems or measuring water usage at each step. Setting actionable goals for the short and long term means that everyone across the industry can make a useful contribution.


Smart agriculture

Climate smart agriculture is emerging: it combines enhanced crop resilience, productivity, and food security, along with reduced environmental impact.


Changes in climate mean that many of the wines we love will be reliant on innovations in agriculture and crop production to survive. The best wines are made in marginal climates, with vines very sensitive to thermal change.


In fact, as the climate warms, regions that were once considered too cold, are now producing fine wine, including English sparkling wines from Hampshire, Dorset and Cornwall.


Moving vineyards and region to grow grapes might be one solution but without some intervention, 56% of the world’s current wine regions would be lost.


This means that there are many advocates for new and hybrid grape varietals as part of the winemaking process. These varietals would be hardier and more resistant to pests and the effects of climate change: yes, consumers might need to prepare for different or more nuanced flavours, but this can be welcomed as an evolution of taste.  


Yalumba Wine Company, is paving the way by grafting saline resistant vine roots with grape producing vines, so, when drought brings a rise in ground salt, the vines are more resilient to change.


It is crucial that policies and regulations for specific wines can be adapted for ensuring production in the future.



Building a resilient supply chain  

Covid19, extreme weather and geopolitical tensions have generated a great deal of volatility within the supply chain. Boosting agility and expanding the range of solutions to tackle supply chain challenges will be increasingly important – especially as businesses seek to improve their carbon footprint and ensure business longevity.


Bolstering our supply chain includes:

  • Embracing regional and local sourcing strategies.

  • Cultivating transparent work cultures where risks and issues are shared early on, so that chain vulnerabilities can be met quickly and effectively. 

  • Evaluating the supply chain landscape, to keep abreast of technological advancements, backups as well as potential partnerships with friendly competitors.  

  • Developing closer relationships with suppliers.


Looking ahead

We need to be open and prepared for a future that looks different: for the planet and for our businesses. It is essential that we start to adapt to the future now, with all the inevitabilities and uncertainties that come with it.


In all this, partnership, support and innovation are essential to success so that businesses and the wider supply chain is responsive to pressures rather than reactive to them.