With atmospheric CO2 concentration at its highest in over 2 million years and in the light of the recent IPCC Climate Change 2021 report and it’s unequivocal position that human influence has contributed to climate change, it's clear that immediate reductions in cumulative CO2 emissions are required, if we are going to slow down global warming.
Whilst we all strive to do our bit to help the environment, currently it’s almost impossible for shoppers to measure the environmental impact of their purchases this is in contrast to a recent survey that found a whopping 81% of British consumers support carbon labelling of products. As part of our sustainability mission we felt an obligation to change this.
Why Carbon labelling is important
The food system accounts for 20-25% of the world’s total emissions of greenhouse gases and reducing the climate footprint of food is an important part of reaching our climate targets, but what is required is a common yardstick approach to allow comparison against other food and drink products, giving consumers the ability to assess the climate impact of their purchases.
Carbon Labelling or Climate Footprint describes how much a given food or drink product contributes to climate change. It is usually expressed per kilogram (kg) of the product, even if the package size is bigger or smaller than one kg. This works the same way as when emissions are declared per km for cars, or nutritional values per 100 grams for food.
Most food products have a long chain of production steps behind them before they end up in a grocery store. This chain is made up of the production of agricultural input, followed by agriculture or fishing, transport, refinements, and additional transport. The chain may be long and complicated. To calculate a climate footprint in a fair and representative way, all substantial emissions along the chain need to be included. To make climate footprints for different products comparable with each other, it is important that the calculations are made as similarly as possible.
Carbon labelling our Sauvignon Bianco
Together with Carbon Cloud, we entered an initiative as the first UK wine brand to analyse the climate impact of our best-selling, bag in box Sauvignon Bianco wine. The analysis scopes a Life Cycle Assessment of the wine, analysing the greenhouse gas emissions at every stage of the production (cradle-to-shelf), starting with the production of agricultural input, through agriculture, transport, refinement, and distribution, up until the product reaches the shelf of the grocery store.
Our Sauvignon Bianco 2.25L bag in box wine yielded a climate footprint of 0.69 kg CO2e/kg. This value encapsules the carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e), a metric that converts the varying effects of different greenhouse gases into the equivalent volume of CO2 with the same effect on the climate. The CO2e metric enables a comparison between a similar product or service, e.g. a flight.
Importantly, the climate footprint score of 0.69 kg CO2e/kg is a massive reduction of 41% in carbon production compared to the same wine packaged in a single-use glass bottle, producing 1.18 kg CO2e/kg.
Our hope is that this transparent approach to the climate footprint of our Sauvignon Bianco wine will enable consumers to make an informed decision on the climate impact of their purchase and inspire other brands, especially the large players, to follow suit and ultimately reassess their position on wasteful and unsustainable single-use glass.
Whilst this is a great start to our commitment to radical transparency on the climate impact of our business activity, it is only a start. Going forward, we will work with our producers and with carbon cloud to minimise the climate footprint of all our products.
Read the full Carbon Cloud report here