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JJ Buckley Becomes First Online, Carbon-Neutral Wine Retail and Distribution Company

May 18, 2007

So-called "green" wineries are an increasingly 'hot' topic of discussion, though few seem to be talking about emissions from the retail and distribution side of the wine industry. Retailers and distributors can, however, offset emissions that otherwise couldn't be reduced. Through a program of onsite mitigation and by purchasing "carbon credits," JJ Buckley, based in Oakland, California, has become the "first online, carbon-neutral wine retail and distribution company."

JJ Buckley Wines was founded two years ago as the retail arm of WineCommune.com.

In addition to pursuing energy reducing efforts such as office recycling and efficient lighting, the company is purchasing credits to "offset" carbon emissions from day-to-day operations such as product shipping receiving, travel, office electricity, and employee commuting through a partnership with the CarbonFund.org Foundation.

The company bought offsets based on a carbon footprint estimated by looking at its total utility bills, travel schedule and aggregate commuting miles for employees.

JJ Buckley CEO Michael Stajer said the tricky part for his company was determining how much carbon FedEx burns on its behalf. JJ Buckley sends out between one- and two thousand packages each week. Fedex helped JJ Buckley calculate the average miles its packages travel and the ratio sent via air and by truck.

"The benefits are twofold," Stajer said. "We reduce greenhouse gases, and hopefully reduce America's dependence on foreign oil." Stajer said the costs of the program are "relatively inexpensive," and come down to just pennies per bottle. "It scales higher," he said, "but on a per-item basis it is very inexpensive."

"Retail and distribution is really where the 'rubber meets the road' in terms of carbon output and the need to reduce and offset. Our organization alone moves more than 30,000 bottles per month," Stajer said. "We can't directly control how green our shipping companies operate, but we can definitely offset them through other means."

Once a company signs up with CarbonFund.org, they are able to choose how and where they would like to offset their emissions. JJ Buckley chose to invest evenly across three options: renewable energy, energy efficiency, and reforestation projects.

Mendocino's Parducci Family Farmed recently became the first U.S. winery to achieve "carbon neutral status."


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