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Review and development of SWBC Standards and Assurance Framework

British Columbia, Canada

SWBC assurance and assessment framework development support

Review and development of SWBC Standards and Assurance Framework


Sustainable Winegrowing of British Columbia Program


Vineyards and wineries

Crops or productive systems

Implementation dates

April 2019 to December 2019


British Columbia Wine Grape Council producer and winery members

About the project

With the current shifts and emerging trends of international trade, sustainability is no longer a “nice to have” but a "must" to be competitive in the global wine marketplace. Numerous export markets from Europe to Asia and the U.S. now require farms and traders some type of sustainability certification or independent verification to access markets; retail markets that focus specifically on sustainable and responsible produced wines are expanding; and research and evidence show that consumers want to support conscientious businesses that are doing well by doing good—caring for nature and community.

In this context, the British Columbia Wine Grape Council created the Sustainable Winegrowers British Columbia Program (SWBC) to help vineyards and wineries adopt sustainable practices and measure and demonstrate ongoing improvement through a voluntary, self-assessment system.

This system is now evolving into a third party assessment aiming to reinforce the credibility of the SWBC program and ensure it is setting high and verifiable standards for sustainability; and as a result the SWBC Program partnered with SAN to request high level advice and technical support .

By providing its expert services, SAN supported the development of a thorough assurance framework for the SWBC, which included the technical review of their Sustainable Standards, the design of performance assessments protocols, and the setting up of a monitoring mechanism through the iHub, the SAN's data management platform.


As part of this project, the SAN helped with the review and structuring of the SWBC Standards for Sustainable Vineyards and Wineries, to produce field assessment ready versions of both standards (including the sustainability criteria and assessments checklists) and a preliminary version of operational documents for the management of the certification and field assessment activities. In addition, the project included pilot field assessments of the standards and field documents.

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