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IT’S going to take a lot of brainpower to build a better future in the face of not just climate change but a rapidly changing business environment as well.

Which is why some of the brightest sparks in the business world will descend on Adelaide next month for the 7th Australian Wine Industry Environment Conference at the Charles Hawker Conference Centre, Waite Campus, on September 25.

With a theme of ‘Smart Business’, some highlights of the program include:

  • Andrew Kay, CEO of Wirra Wirra Vineyards, speaking on the dual benefits to business and the environment of planning for a sustainable future. Sure to be a dynamic presentation, this will explore the motivations and reasons behind the actions some of the leading wineries in Australia are taking in planning their own sustainable future.
  • A keynote address from Professor Will Steffen from the crowd-funded Climate Council on how to plan for improved business sustainability in the face of likely climate change impacts.

They will join 20 high-calibre speakers with presentations aimed squarely at improving business sustainability and environmental performance at a whole-of-business level.

The full-day program will provide both strategic and practical advice for wine industry people who are keen to secure a sustainable future for their business.

  • Experts in the field will provide a solid overview on a broad range of issues and guide you through the essentials of improving energy efficiency and adapting business to climate change impacts.
  • AWIEC will deliver take home strategies that can be applied to your organisation to help you improve your business and environmental performance.
  • The key issues of water availability and quality will be examined including:
  • The theme of energy will feature with some highly topical and practical presentations including:
  • A range of talks will be held about adapting to a changed future.

Cutting-edge research outcomes with potential to impact the way businesses operate in the future will also be a focus, with presentations about cheaper and more efficient wastewater treatment (Paul Grbin, University of Adelaide) and vineyard management innovations to help deal with the changing climate (Vic Sadras, SARDI).

Learn from the research of CSIRO’s Aysha Fleming of CSIRO about the experience of others in the sector as to how best to make business decisions when planning for climate change adaptation actions.

‘Smart Business’ is focused on three key themes that are essential to the future business sustainability of the wine industry – water, energy and adaptation.

About 150 delegates representing all states in Australia are expected to attend – not just wine company personnel but also people who provide vital support services and products for the industry such as alternative energy, business and engineering consultants, and research and development providers.

Delegates who register before September 5 are eligible for the lowest early bird price of $290 (members of SAWIA) or $350 (non-members). After that date the registration price will be $400 (all delegates).

For more information, see the conference website page at www.winesa.asn.au/awiec2014.

The 7th AWIEC is sponsored by 2XE, The Solar Project, Australian Grape and Wine Authority,   – Gold, Pernod Ricard Winemakers, Zero Waste SA and F=mg Engineering – Silver, and Peter Lehmann Wines – Bronze. The supporting partners of the conference are — the Winemakers Federation of Australia, University of Adelaide, and Winetitles.