In recent years, more people and societies worldwide are placing a high value and much more importance on Sustainability.
This sustainability can range from the environmental friendliness of a business’s products and services, to the general well-being and opportunities for employees.
So it should be no surprise that we are starting to see the same rigorous standards being adopted in Champagne with the Houses or Maisons de Champagne!

What is BCorp?

 A highly respected non-profit, B Corp was set up in the US in 2006 by three friends whose vision was to make business a force for good.
“B Lab is the nonprofit network transforming the global economy to benefit all people, communities, and the planet. We won’t stop until all business is a force for good.”
In 2007, there were 82 certified B Corps.
Today there are over 6,000, covering 159 industries.

Piper Heidsieck was the first in the region to be certified as a B Corp in 2022.
In this article Meininger’s talks to Emilien Boutillat, the company’s winemaker, who was responsible for the certification of his brand, Charles Heidsieck and Rare Champagne.
Meininger’s: How long did the process of certification take?
Boutillat: It was a two-year journey. And then, because so many companies wanted to get certified, and with Covid limiting travel, it took quite a while to reach the audit.
We waited almost ten months to get the certification. But it’s not an end. It’s the beginning….”

“Achieving B Corp certification reflects our pioneering ethos and daring initiative to be a driving force of change within the Champagne industry.
This certification not only recognises our environmental impact in the vineyards, but extends to our entire winemaking ecosystem, our community and our workplace.”
Benoit Collard Piper-Heidsieck CEO
“Based on the B Impact assessment, Piper-Heidsieck, Charles Heidsieck and Rare Champagne – PH-CH SAS earned an overall score of 91.9.
The median score for ordinary businesses who complete the assessment is currently 50.9″
The SMH explains Emilien Boutillat is one of the youngest chefs de cave in champagne’s history…..In a nutshell, B Corp certification not only evaluates a brand’s environmental impact, but also its core values, workspace culture and the impact it has on society. For Piper-Heidsieck, this includes achieving net-zero carbon emissions before 2050 (in line with the Paris Agreement), the use of 100 per cent renewable electricity, enhancement of biodiversity, and investment in the VitiBot; an autonomous robot that removes weeds from vineyards without using pesticides.
When we recruited Emilien he was barely 31 years old,” Piper-Heidsieck CEO Benoit Collard says. “He is enthusiastic about social impact and is engaged in this journey with us.”
The brand has also used the lightest bottles on the market (835 grams) since 2010. “It only makes sense to go for the lightest bottle,” Collard says.

In September 2023, Bollinger also was certified:
“In July 2022, Maison Bollinger outlined ambitious plans for its Bicentenary (2029) as well as a new environmental and societal charter.
Today, Maison Bollinger is proud to reveal that we have achieved our objective of obtaining a B Corp certification, as of September 2023.”
Bollinger “earned an overall score of 83.9″
Sustainability- The Bollinger way
Since 1829, our philosophy has remained focused on sustainability. It all comes down to a timeless style and preserving traditional savoir-faire. Our values remain the same and our traditions bear fruit.
Our sense of responsibility is rooted in time: it’s in the history of the Maison, in every decision we make, and in our vision for the future.
Champagne Bollinger is now formally including these commitments to create a better future for our employees, for the Earth and for our local ecosystem.”
As part of the new certification and Bollinger’s focus on sustainability, the company has named eight commitments it builds upon:
The creation of a Bollinger School for “refining Savoir-Faire”

  • Employee training programs
  • Ensuring team well-being through a safety culture, action plans, and campaigns for responsible alcohol consumption
  • Sustainable vineyard management and preservation of biodiversity
  • Reduction of the ecological footprint (reducing glass weight, cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 40%, etc.)
  • Development of a circular economy for waste production
  • Preservation of family heritage
  • Supporting the local ecosystem, which includes a local sustainability initiative that can be rewarded with the new Madame Bollinger Prize of €50,000.

With the B-Corp certification, Bollinger commits to “a structure of continuous improvement.” Every three years, the company must undergo an evaluation and review process to demonstrate that it continues to meet the evolving certification standards.”

What is involved in B Corp Certification for Champagne Houses?

B Corp certification is a voluntary certification awarded to businesses that meet certain standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.
It is administered by the nonprofit organization B Lab.
While B Corp certification is not limited to a specific industry or region, the requirements and process can be adapted to the specific characteristics of different businesses and sectors.
For Champagne Houses in France, the B Corp certification process would generally involve the following steps:

Assessment: The first step is for the Champagne House to complete the B Impact Assessment.
This assessment evaluates the company’s impact on its workers, customers, community, and environment. It covers various areas, including governance, workers, community, environment, and customers.

Scoring: The assessment generates a numerical score based on the company’s performance in each area.
To achieve B Corp certification, the Champagne House needs to attain a minimum verified score. The score reflects the company’s commitment to social and environmental responsibility.

Verification: Once the assessment is completed, B Lab reviews the information provided and may request additional documentation for verification.
This step ensures the accuracy and authenticity of the data submitted by the company.

Improvements: If the initial assessment reveals areas where the Champagne House could improve its social and environmental practices, the company may need to make changes and improvements to meet the certification standards.

Certification: Once the Champagne House meets the necessary criteria and its performance is verified, it can receive B Corp certification.
This certification demonstrates the company’s commitment to balancing profit and purpose.

It’s important to note that the specific requirements and challenges for Champagne Houses may differ from those of other industries.
For example, considerations related to agricultural practices, water usage, and sustainability in grape cultivation and winemaking would likely be important for a Champagne House seeking B Corp certification.
Champagne Houses pursuing B Corp certification should engage with the assessment process, implement sustainable practices and demonstrate a commitment to social and environmental responsibility in line with the B Corp standards.
Additionally, ongoing recertification is required, ensuring that certified companies continue to meet the B Corp standards over time.

The Champagne Goddess salutes these early adopter Maisons and whenever possible, celebrates using them in her Art of Sabrage and Masterclasses!

Contact Susan to learn more.