You can’t manage what you don’t measure” – Peter Drucker
It is a well-known adage in business that “you can’t manage what you don’t measure”. While it would be an oversimplification to assume that a business can be run on visible figures alone, the development of metrics or quantified performance indicators are integral in understanding the impact or effect of change on a business’s performance. While ‘performance’ has traditionally been synonymous with economic indicators, the societal shift towards sustainability is driving businesses to adopt a more holistic definition of performance, including environmental and social indicators.
When it comes to environmental performance, carbon emissions provide an obvious indicator, with emission reduction strategies playing a key role in curtailing the climate crisis. The observable effects of climate change and increasing global awareness of the magnification potential thereof has resulted in both political and consumer driven pressures on businesses to expedite the transition to sustainable operation.
Measuring and understanding your carbon footprint is therefore an important step in your business’s sustainability journey. The following article looks at why you should calculate your carbon footprint and the global drivers – including retailer commitments – for improved carbon emission quantification and reduction.
Increasing global understanding of the impact and effects of climate change has seen increasing emphasis and pressure on reducing carbon emissions across the supply chain. However, when it comes to agriculture it is not always easy to implement the necessary changes due to various factors such as cost barriers, and a lack of understanding about where
The past few years have seen a significant shift in the way that governments are responding to the climate crisis. The introduction of carbon pricing mechanisms has seen particular momentum. In essence, carbon pricing works by putting a price on carbon emissions with the aim of bringing down emissions, driving investment into clean technology and fueling low-carbon economic growth.
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To effectively realise and respond to the opportunities and challenges posed by climate change the Confronting Climate Change (CCC) Project was started in 2009 as a strategic cross-industry initiative aimed at supporting the South African fruit and wine sectors’ efforts. Besides provision of a freely available on-line carbon emissions calculator the CCC promotes technical training supporting its adoption and use and has actively engaged with the retailers and importers to secure their support for the project. The results are accepted and feed in to existing retailer sustainability requirements. This helps to avoid duplication of carbon footprinting systems. Farms, packhouses, wineries and other entities across the supply-chain are enabled to undertake accurate measurement of the energy-use and carbon-emissions intensity of their respective business activities.
The Fruit and Wine Industry bodies of South Africa, represented by SATI, Hortgro Pome, Hortgro Stone, CGA and Winetech, own The CCC Initiative, and together with the Western Cape Department of Agriculture, have funded the initiative since its formation in 2008. The CCC Initiative is now a well-established and international award winning project that has reached a high level of adoption and acceptance by farmers, packers, wineries and customers alike. In order to ensure its ongoing growth and value into the future, the industry bodies have made the decision to accelerate the commercialisation of the project.
Grain SA initiated the Carbon Footprint project, with Phase 1 aiming to calculate and compare the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of different farming systems in the winter grain region in the Western Cape. An increase of GHGs in the atmosphere traps the sun’s radiation or energy directly leading to an increase in the earth’s temperature or so-called global warming (IPCC, 2007). The most common GHGs in the atmosphere are water vapour, carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O) and ozone.
In South Africa, honeybees and their pollination services contribute an estimated R16 billion to the national GDP, of which approximately R10 billion is generated in the Western Cape (Engineering News 2015). With the changing profile of deciduous fruits, increases in vegetable production; and large increases in vegetable seed production and expansion of macadamia nut plantations, the demand for these pollination services is expected to "double over the next five years" (Allsopp, pers. comm. 2016). However, despite their critical value, beekeeping in South Africa faces some critical challenges, largely rooted in the lack of recognition and protection of these pollination services, from both a governmental and grower perspective. These main risk factors are outlined below.
 Mike Allsopp is a senior researcher within the Honeybee Research Section of the Agricultural Research Council (ARC).
In South Africa and globally there is increasing pressure from retailers and consumers for the disclosure of the embodied carbon of the products that they purchase. It is important for South African fruit and wine producers to comply with the market requirements to ensure market retention. It is furthermore important to measure and manage your emissions to reduce input costs and become more climate resilient.
The question asked by many producers are: “Which tool should I use” and “Will the information generated by the tool be accepted internationally?”. A brief analysis of the different tools and why the Confronting Climate Change (CCC) tool should be your tool of choice is outlined below.
Blue North Sustainability manages the “Confronting Climate Change” project (or CCC in short) on behalf of the South African Fruit and Wine industries. This project is now in its 8th year and focuses on supporting South African farmers, packhouses and wineries in calculating their carbon footprint. Here is a short and sharp update of what 2016 holds in store.
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