Sustainable development concerns the entire wine sector, including wine consultancy


or the Rolland et Associés workshop (based in Pomerol, Gironde), the change is now. After revamping its shareholders and executives in 2020 with the phasing out of its iconic founders, Dany and Michel Rolland, the company has since used corporate social responsibility (CSR) to structure itself in the face of environmental, social and managerial. “We didn’t want to do anything different to change at all costs, but to improve ourselves in view of the current challenges. CSR does not only concern customers, it also concerns suppliers, employees… We have to catch up” poses Stéphanie Rolland, general manager of the Rolland laboratories, daughter of Dany and Michel Rolland. “The generational change is a transition. We are still on a human scale, but management is less top-down and familiar. CSR comes to this to professionalize and structure” adds the consultant oenologist Julien Viaud, president and co-shareholder of the laboratory (250 customers in 15 countries, for a turnover of 2.5 million euros for oenological analyzes and technical consultancy).

“We are talking about more participatory management, optimization of operating methods… Management is more collective” Stéphanie Rolland abounds, emphasizing the positive impact of CSR thinking and actions. “The approach exists in many industries. In our advice and analysis part, it’s more in the shadows, it’s fairly new. Our colleagues will. It’s a win-win approach.” emphasizes, adding that“As an actor in the vine and wine circuit, since all the actors reflect on social and environmental actions, it is obvious that all links in the supply chain must be involved. »

Engagement chain

“CSR requires a sector vision. There cannot be a link that is not committed. Have an engagement chain. Is critical” confirms Yann Chabin, CSR consultant who follows the consulting firm. For Rolland laboratories, the goal is to validate their CSR approach by obtaining ISO 26000 certification in 2023. “It will be a recognition of our work, but it won’t stop there. Certification is important, but CSR is a reflection that allows you to move forward » says Julien Viaud, for whom the environmental theme first focused on the management of wine samples (treatment of effluents, reduction of water consumption for cleaning samples, management of chemicals, etc.).

For the laboratory, these effluents are counted in hundreds of hectoliters of wine and must (sent to the distillery), adds its president. With 34,000 samples processed annually, the company needs 2,000 bottles. Rolland and associates remains on the glass bottles, allowing reuse after cleaning and recycling in case of breakage known Marie-Line Prigneau-Bourgade, laboratory technician, who observes that the sampling bottles reduce their volume to 18 cl to reduce the effluent: “CSR is about continuous improvement” she points.

Reduction of consumption

To reduce electricity consumption, the premises are now illuminated with LEDs fitted with motion detectors in the corridors, says winemaker Sophie Maltaverne, head of the laboratory and CSR. A heat pump project is mentioned, as well as the installation of photovoltaic panels in late 2023 during the renovation of the roof. Meanwhile, a global carbon balance is launched online. “Our black spot is the vehicles” underlines Julien Viaud, indicating a continuous transition of the company’s vehicles to hybrid engines (petrol and electric).

CSR is also an opportunity to formalize some best practices which may seem obvious, but which may lead to criminal liability for the company. “We are formalizing with the definition of a framework that allows us to understand the risks” explains Marie-Line Prigneau-Bourgade. Defined welcome booklet for newcomers (the company employs 9 CDI, plus fixed-term contracts as reinforcements during the harvest), alcohol charters (to have breathalyser, responsible consumption during tastings and lunches, etc.) and guide ( for couriers). Internal regulations are also being drawn up which will particularly concern the prevention of sexist and sexual violence.

Turn a constraint into an advantage

The CSR would therefore be a way to transform the regulatory constraint into an improvement lever. “We didn’t want to fall into bureaucracy with CSR” underlines Julien Viaud. “There is a problem of meaning, it allows to improve and protect” confirms Marie-Line Prigneau-Bourgade. The problem is that of “turn a constraint into a resource” adds Yann Chabin, who notes the obligation for VSEs/SMEs to have internal regulations, a single professional risk assessment document (DUERP), an IT charter in accordance with the general data protection regulation (RGPD)… “Regulatory obligations that are necessarily known, but can be costly if there is a problem” warn the consultant.

To make sense, the CSR approach must be a team effort, reports Stéphanie Rolland. A monthly meeting of the employees has been created, which allows discussions on the values ​​and visions of each one explains Sophie Maltaverne, who notes the social progress thanks to these exchanges and the new management. The balance between private life and professional commitment is thus improved. “Previously, the laboratory was open from 7:00 to 2:00 the following night during the harvest. We no longer have the desire and the need thanks to automation” declares Julien Viaud, who for this reason prefers efficiency to presentism “seasonal work, we spend a month and a half of stress”. An effervescence shared by the customers of the laboratory, who share the same orientations of CSR.

History of the Rolland laboratories

Founded in 1973, the Rolland laboratories took over the wine business of Jean Chevrier (pharmacist in business since 1959). In the 1980s, the laboratory launched into consultancy to strengthen its profitability. Independent stores launch in the 1990s. “These are not the same entities, nor the same shareholding” explains Stéphanie Rolland, noting this “Many laboratories sell wine products which make it easier to be profitable. Wine analyzes are less profitable: you need to invest to be more efficient and effective with automation work, innovation in the offer…”

In 2020, the company opens its capital to three employees (Jean-Philippe Fort, Mikael Laize and Julien Viaud). Substantial investments have been made, around 200,000 euros for the purchase of new machines, reports Stéphanie Rolland, indicating since then annual investments of 50 to 100,000 euros/year for new tools (winemaking, IT, etc.). “Investments needed to produce cheaper, more reliable and effective analyses” observes the Chief Executive Officer, linking modernity and competitiveness: “It is necessary to give the price of the analyses, common (sugar, alcohol, sulphites, etc.) and fine (ethylphenols, pesticide residues, etc.).

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