Our co-operative currently has over 500 members, the majority of whom are small-scale producers with less than three hectares of land given to grape production and come from across the La Rioja province. Many of our members are the children of former co-operative members and therefore are continuing the family tradition of producing grapes for the co-operative.
Being part of a co-operative means that our individual members are entitled to a certain number of benefits and services including the guaranteed purchase of grapes at higher prices, transportation of grapes from the vineyard to the co-operative, access to credits, distribution of profits, free technical assistance, purchase of large quantities of diesel, fertilizers etc to keep down the prices, collective frost insurance, a policy of one member, one vote regardless of their size of production, a sports club and recreational activities as well as an access to an emergency fund.
Since receiving Fairtrade certification in 2006, our co-operative members and workers together with their families have started to benefit from the Fairtrade projects which are being developed for the local communities, such as the Tilimuqui Water Project and the Tilimuqui School Project.
Sustainability is the capacity to endure. For humans it is the potential for long-term maintenance of wellbeing, which in turn depends on the wellbeing of the natural world and the responsible use of natural resources.
At La Riojana, we are committed to caring for the environment and to reducing our carbon footprint, and we are therefore working hard to promote and encourage sustainable practices within the winery, our vineyards and with our growers. As proof of this commitment, we have carried out a carbon footprint audit, the preliminary results of which show that the carbon footprint caused by production is relatively low compared with figures reported for wineries in Europe and Australia.
We are also one of the first wineries in Argentina to implement a carbon neutral programme for the whole process of grape to bottled wine. This process includes the vineyards, water management, materials used by the winery and transport. We have also started to offset carbon emissions for our exported wines, specifically to Sweden and we are working to include other countries.
Our overall goal is to become "carbon negative" which can be achieved once the carbon neutral projects are implemented, and in turn this will contribute to the sustainability of our growers and the winery.
As an illustration of our commitment to caring for the environment, we were listed as one of the "Green top 50" drinks firms in the world by the UK's drinks title, The Drinks Business in their January 2009 edition.
At La Riojana, we hold good ethical practice as a core value and since our establishment in 1940 we have remained strongly committed to a fair philosophy. We produce and commercialize products (including sparkling wines, wines, grape juice, must and olive oil) that meet with international quality standards, with the aim to satisfy both the needs of our clients and the demands of the national and international market.
We remain totally committed to co-operative principles, by providing integral support to our individual members, producing and commercialising their production, and allowing an adequate return for their raw material. This in turn promotes the development of human capital, in alignment with the principles and philosophy of Fairtrade.