Sustainability trip to Argentina

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In March 2015, Systembolaget made a sustainability trip to Argentina, together with representatives of the other Nordic alcohol retail monopolies. The aim of the trip was to learn more about Argentina’s wine production and to discuss issues such as corruption and poor working conditions. For Tommy Nykvist, Systembolaget’s Sustainability Manager in the Purchasing Department, it was an important trip.

Why Argentina, specifically?

“Systembolaget has been making sustainability trips to what we classify as “at risk” countries, such as South Africa, Chile and Argentina, for a number of years now. The aim is to show our commitment within the supply chain and to expand our opportunities for making a difference. Sweden’s Ambassador to Argentina had also contacted us because she was interested in bringing together stakeholders from the Argentinian wine industry and discussing challenges and solutions – which fitted in perfectly with our agenda.”

Why do you classify Argentina as an “at risk” country?

“We visited both large and small wine producers in Mendoza, met with trade unions, and held meetings with Fair Wine Trade and other non-profits. Towards the end of the trip, we organised roundtable discussions with important parties from the Argentinian wine industry and also held a sustainability seminar.”

What did you do on the sustainability trip?

“We visited both large and small wine producers in Mendoza, met with trade unions, and held meetings with Fair Wine Trade and other non-profits. Towards the end of the trip, we organised roundtable discussions with important parties from the Argentinian wine industry and also held a sustainability seminar.”

Which part of the trip was most important to you, personally?

“It was probably the roundtable discussions that gave us the opportunity to highlight the challenges directly for the industry’s key players. No disrespect to the producer audits, but some problems don’t show up in audit reports but are the sort of things we can bring to the fore in these sorts of forums.”

Wine in Argentina

1551: The first vine stocks are planted.

1850-1880: Railways are built, enabling wine to be exported.

1853: The establishment of the General Irrigation Department and the passing of the Water Act lead to the rapid development of the wine industry.

1970-1991: Domestic consumption falls from the record level of 90 litres per capita to 55 litres per capita.

1995 and thereafter: The wine industry recovers. The USA becomes an important trading partner.