Piper-Heidsieck, Charles Heidsieck and Rare Champagne announce B Corp Certification

The sister champagne houses of Piper-Heidsieck, Charles Heidsieck and Rare Champagne have become the first in Champagne to join 21 other wineries globally in achieving B Corp certification to strengthen their commitments to both social and environmental issues.

When I first met Émilien Boutillat after he joined Piper-Heidsieck as Chef de Cave in October 2018, I was impressed with the energy of this young man, who was trained as both a winemaker and an agronomic engineer.

‘I want to stay in touch with the vineyards, as this link is very important to me,’ he told me. ‘We have strong partnerships with vine growers everywhere in Champagne.’ Boutillat has since worked closely with his growers to improve vineyard practices.

‘Sustainable farming is one of the keys for us,’ he says. ‘We want to be more than organic. To focus on the soil and the biodiversity. Managing the vineyards differently is good for the environment and can make a huge difference to the quality of the grapes and the wines.’

Four years on, Boutillat’s initiatives alongside those of his colleagues across the Piper-Heidsieck, Charles Heidsieck and Rare Champagne brands have been instrumental in driving what President and CEO Damien Lafaurie describes as ‘a complete shift in our paradigm in making a series of strong and concrete commitments to all of our practices.’

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.

‘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,’ declares Lafaurie. ‘We are honoured 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!’

The houses lists the concrete initiatives they have taken to achieve B Corp certification as including:

  • 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), completely eliminating 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”.