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Type: Thesis
Title: Sustainability assessment in wine grape growing.
Author: Santiago-Brown, Irina
Issue Date: 2014
School/Discipline: School of Agriculture, Food and Wine
Abstract: This thesis presents outcomes from a mixed methods research project in agricultural sciences. An atypical methodology for sciences was developed to avoid embedded assumptions commonly seen in sustainability investigations. Eighty-three upper echelon participants from the wine grape industry participated in 14 group discussions in five countries: Australia, Chile, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States. Quantitative measures were compared to results from qualitatively coded participant utterances using content analysis software tools. Results are presented from these group discussions, divided in three stages. Each stage had its own objective and method: (1) aimed to define sustainability through an Assisted Focus Group Method of Enquiry (AFGME), (2) produce a list of indicators for sustainability assessment through an Adapted Nominal Group Technique (ANGT) and (3) aimed to discuss the engagement process of viticultural sustainability programs through a traditional focus group approach, document and compare the most prominent sustainability assessment programs for individual organisations in viticulture worldwide. It was found that a consensual sustainability definition prior to the establishment of assessment systems is essential. The model developed in this investigation seems to be viable for similar sustainability investigations of individual organisations. An overall sustainability definition is proposed as the continuous pursuit of equilibrium between economic, social and environmental variables and their trade-offs over time. Indicators have been used in many sustainability assessment methods, often to validate the scope of the evaluation. Disagreements over a common definition and scope for the sustainability concept have led to many distinct methods, which are not often directly comparable. Indicators should be seen as the starting point of sustainability assessments. This investigation develops indicators, within three categories: economic, environmental and social; ranked by the attributed importance given by participants. In the context of this investigation, indicators are presented as qualitative variables that in context will be quantified to fit the purpose and viewpoint of the proponents of the given assessment. To have assessments in place it is necessary to define, at the minimum: (1) the meaning of sustainability, (2) viewpoint of the assessor, (3) purpose of the assessment, (4) context, and (5) time frame. The methodology developed is directly applicable to other agricultural assessments, contributing to decision-making processes in systems assessing sustainability of agricultural organisations, especially vineyards. The findings of this research contributed to the development of the McLaren Vale Sustainable Winegrowing Australia program. Although most research on sustainability seems to have a stronger focus on environment, environmental issues were neither the main drivers to the conception of programs nor perceived as the most important concern of vineyards self- assessing their sustainability priorities. The environmental appeal is incontestably important and all programs have embraced it as part of their assessments. Nevertheless, successful programs have been created to increase growers’ sustainability, mainly through the direct and indirect education they promote and the overall economic benefit to their business caused by overall operations improvement. The proper study of viticulture is ultimately the study of sustainability in viticulture, as research should be driven to keep the wine industry alive, over time.
Advisor: Collins, Cassandra
Metcalfe, Andrew Viggo
Jerram, Cate
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Adelaide, School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, 2014
Keywords: sustainability; assessment; viticulture; wine; grape; mixed method research; content analysis; indicator; triple bottom line; comparison
Provenance: This electronic version is made publicly available by the University of Adelaide in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. This thesis may incorporate third party material which has been used by the author pursuant to Fair Dealing exceptions. If you are the owner of any included third party copyright material you wish to be removed from this electronic version, please complete the take down form located at:
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