Africa sees 1st carbon-neutral brewery amid climate concerns

Original article was written by Neil Shaw, associated press. 
Darling, South Africa — Jul 21, 2018, 5:24 AM ET, Click here to view full article.

A South African brewery is said to be the first in Africa to go carbon-neutral as more businesses across the continent adjust to climate change, and as consumers become more careful about the products they buy.

Darling Brewery, in a village near Cape Town, decreased its carbon footprint by using water and energy more efficiently — then brought it to zero in April by purchasing carbon credits at a reforestation project in Zimbabwe.

The brewery’s overhaul comes as South Africa’s Cape region emerges from an extreme drought that saw the city of Cape Town, population 4 million, rationing water and warning of a “Day Zero” when taps would run dry. The crisis has eased amid water conservation efforts.

“I don’t think a lot of people understand what carbon-neutral means or what impact all the businesses around us are having on the environment,” said the brewery’s owner, Kevin Wood. “The damage being done by climate change has a lot to do with our carbon footprint. Just look at the extreme weather here in the Western Cape.”

Greenhouse gas emissions have damaging environmental impacts such as global warming, acid rain and ozone layer damage, according to the sustainability consultant who conducted a greenhouse gas audit on the brewery, Andre Harms.

Darling Brewery was already known for raising environmental issues via the labels on the 17 beers it produces, educating drinkers about Africa’s threatened wildlife.

Now the labels tell drinkers about the brewery’s carbon-neutral status. “They’ll start connecting the dots and change their consumption habits to more environmentally friendly products,” Wood said.

Darling Brewery opened in 2010 as the craft beer sector exploded in South Africa. When the brewery opened there were 30 others and today there are around 215, according to beer journalist Lucy Corne.

She said craft brewery consumers are more likely to be aware of their carbon footprint than regular beer drinkers, as craft beer is a niche product that only South Africa’s middle class and above can afford.

“I think what Darling Brewery has done is really great for the industry,” Corne said, adding that the shift to carbon-neutral could get other breweries thinking about sustainability measures. “They’re leading the way.”

Globally there are only a handful of carbon-neutral breweries, experts say.

Sustainability consultant Franz Rentel confirmed that Darling Brewery is the first carbon-neutral one in Africa. He said he thinks more companies will follow its example.

South Africa will introduce a carbon credit tax by January, which will affect large emitters and is expected to make products from carbon-neutral companies “the cheaper option,” Rentel said.

As more countries put such taxes into place, large breweries could move toward carbon neutrality as well.

Darling Brewery’s brew master, Rene du Toit, said going carbon-neutral is not just about doing the right thing. “A lot of the measures you put in place to reduce your carbon footprint . make economic sense in the long run: You’re paying less for your water, you’re paying less for your energy, you’re putting out less solid waste.”

Sitting at one of Cape Town’s trendy bars, beer lover Nicole McCreedy said choosing to drink a carbon-neutral Darling Brewery beer is about supporting a progressive South African initiative.

“We’ll see far more of (that) globally, I hope,” she said.

Also interested to be a front-runner and make your products climate neutral? Contact us today via franz.rentel@climateneutralgroup.com and receive more information. We will be happy to assist you and walk this journey together with you.

 

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WORKSHOP: developing carbon offset projects

Climate Neutral Group cordially invites you to attend our business breakfast and informal discussion on the topic: “Developing Carbon Projects”.

After a successful Carbon Tax Essentials business breakfast in Johannesburg, businesses started to contact us for more information about how to develop carbon offset projects. Therefore, Climate Neutral Group is hosting another workshop, and this time during African Utility Week in Cape Town. The focus will be on the essential elements of developing an emission reduction project that can generate additional income through the sale of carbon credits within the context of South Africa’s future compliance carbon market.

The key objective of this essential workshop is to simplify the highly complex nature of carbon asset development. The timing of this workshop is very appropriate: there are only eight months left before the implementation of South Africa’s carbon tax. By purchasing carbon offsets, carbon tax liable companies will be able to reduce their tax liability. This can be a good opportunity for project developers.

This workshop will provide clarity to businesses who are unsure whether their envisaged project could yield carbon credits or to those who simply want to better understand the processes and costs involved in developing a carbon project.

Key focus areas to be covered include the South African carbon market and legislative landscape, stages of a carbon project as well as transaction costs, timelines, and carbon revenue potential. The various structures of an Emission Reduction Purchase Agreement (ERPA) will also be discussed. A number of practical examples will be used to ensure participants of the workshop leave with a good understanding of all the key elements of a carbon project.

Speakers:
•    Franz Rentel, Country Director South Africa, Climate Neutral Group
•    Silvana Claassen, Senior Carbon Advisor, Climate Neutral Group

Please note: seating is limited to 30 people. Please RSVP early to avoid disappointment. 

CostR350 (ex VAT) / person; CNG clients: Free

Date:      16 May 2018
Time:      07:30-09:30 (breakfast served from 07:00)
Venue:    Robben Island Room, The Westin Cape Town (across from the CTICC)

 

REGISTER NOW

CNG partners with Confronting Climate Change

Working together to make agricultural value chains climate neutral

Climate Neutral Group (CNG) and Confronting Climate Change (CCC) have joined hands to assist South African fruit and wine farmers towards achieving climate neutrality for their products, including climate neutral wine. Through this collaboration, CNG and CCC offer a turnkey approach that turns challenges associated with climate change into opportunities for their clients.

Taking 100% responsibility

CCC helps South African fruit and wine farmers calculate and understand the carbon footprints of their operations and value chains by calculating the amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions they generate per year and identifying key emissions sources. Typical GHG sources within agriculture include the use of agrochemicals, cooling, packaging, and freight as well as fuel consumption.

Through the implementation of new technologies and operational strategies, farmers are working hard at reducing the carbon footprints of their operations and/or products. Inevitably, some elements of a product’s carbon footprint are incredibly difficult and costly to eliminate. From here, the best and most cost-effective option is to offset these unavoidable emissions through the purchase of carbon credits from verified carbon offset projects. This allows farmers to take 100% responsibility for their environmental impact whilst labelling their product “climate neutral”

Climate Neutral Guaranteed

Gaining momentum across Europe’s food and beverages sector, Climate Neutral Group’s Climate Neutral Guaranteed standard and associated climate neutral logo ensure that the steps taken by businesses towards climate neutrality have been tested against strict international criteria.

The Climate Neutral Guaranteed standard helps businesses to efficiently and clearly communicate their climate leadership role to consumers, suppliers, partners, and other stakeholders. This is critical in fostering a new generation of socially, environmentally, and economically sustainable businesses.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE FACTSHEET ABOUT OUR EXCITING PARTNERSHIP!

Please contact Anel Blignaut (Blue North Sustainability) or Franz Rentel (CNG) for more information.

Research debunks carbon offsetting myths

What are the main myths are carbon offsetting? The Unlocking Potential/State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets 2017: Buyers’ Analysis has listed four of them and proceeded to debunk them.

CARBON OFFSETTING MYTH 1: Companies that buy offsets are just buying their way out of their obligations.

Our research shows the opposite: companies are purchasing offsets as one of many ways to fulfil their carbon reduction obligations. Those companies that do buy offsets are doing so as part of an overall carbon management strategy and they mostly use offsets to tackle emissions they can’t eliminate internally. Some companies, like Disney and Microsoft, have created an internal “price on carbon,” where the company charges itself for every ton of carbon it produces and uses that income to purchase offsets. The idea is that incorporating carbon into the company’s bottom line will focus attention on emissions and accelerate reductions.

MYTH 2: Offsets don’t represent real reductions. 

In the early days of carbon markets in the early 2000’s, voluntary offset quality was a mixed bag—some projects were well-planned and some were not. A few unscrupulous “carbon cowboys” made headlines after their offsets were found to be double-counted or illegitimate. But carbon markets have come a long way since then. Carbon standards require developers to demonstrate that their emissions are:

MYTH 3: Offsetting barely makes a dent—it’s not sufficient for the large-scale change we need.

This one might be sort of true, but that’s because offsets are designed to be part of an overall reduction strategy and not a substitute for one. Companies surveyed in the report typically offset less than 2% of their total emissions, usually because they’re using offsets to compensate for just one segment of that total, like employee travel or the carbon footprint of a single product. Even the small percentage, however, represents a tangible impact on the climate. As more companies sign on to initiatives like the Science-Based Targets or the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), the percentage of emissions they offset may go up.

MYTH 4: Offsetting is niche or arcane.

A lot of prominent brands use offsetting, including household names like General Motors, Delta Air Lines, and Microsoft, all of whom were among the top five buyers on the voluntary market in 2014.

Of the nearly 2,000 companies who publicly disclosed emissions data to CDP in 2014, 248 (17%) invested in projects to reduce carbon emissions outside of their immediate operations.

Of the 140 MtCO2e in offsets reported to the CDP, companies purchased nearly 40 MtCO2e (with the remaining companies either producing offsets for sale externally or offsetting internally within their supply chain). This is equal to the carbon sequestered by 1 billion tree seedlings grown over 10 years.

Would you like to know how to, incorporate Carbon offsetting into your business, contact Nishanthi on nishanthi.lambrichs@climateneutralgroup.com

Report: carbon offsetting benefits & drivers

Business Leadership on Climate Action: Drivers and Benefits of Offsetting, a 2017 report by the International Carbon Reduction & Offset Alliance (ICROA), looks at the demand for carbon credits, explains what drives businesses to offset their emissions, and goes into the various carbon offsetting benefits for companies in South Africa and beyond. A summary of the report is found below.

ICROA: Understanding Business Leadership on Climate Action

More can be done to increase action on climate change and close the gap on the global goal of a two degree limit. There is a disconnect between where science says we need to be and how far the Paris Agreement will take us, and the voluntary carbon market is crucial in bridging that gap.

This report considers the current demand for carbon offsetting, what drives businesses to use it as one of its solutions to climate change, and what the benefits are.

Its findings were taken from responses to a survey developed by Imperial College London in consultation with the UNFCCC and ICROA and conducted among respondents across a wide range of sectors, including private, public and non-profit / NGOs.

Putting it all together: recommendations

Based on the report’s key findings, the following recommendations can be put forward to further promote the uptake of offsetting as a solution to bridge the ambition gap on the global goal of a 2°C limit:

1. Carbon offset projects make a valuable contribution to the reduction of GHG emissions. Better recognition of this contribution would demonstrate the value to companies in meeting their climate goals and motivate more businesses to invest in voluntary offsetting. Additionally, this research shows that:

  • There is a positive correlation between knowledge of the voluntary carbon market and confidence in its effectiveness to reduce GHG emissions. A broader understanding of the market from the corporate world would help grow demand
  • Better awareness of the role of offsetting within the carbon management plans of climate leaders would also increase demand

2. Offset buyers should measure their return from investing in voluntary carbon offset projects. 49% of respondents in this survey said they have experienced tangible benefits from voluntary offsetting, though in most cases these benefits are not being measured. Better data on these benefits would help build the case for companies to take voluntary action

3. Demonstrating co-benefits, in addition to carbon mitigation, will increase the return on investment. In turn, this will increase the willingness to invest in voluntary offsetting

This article was published on www.icroa.org.


Work with Climate Neutral Group to measure, reduce and offset your carbon emissions – for better, greener and more competitive business operations! For more information on the various carbon offsetting benefits for your organisation, click here or contact Nishanthi on Nishanthi.lambrichs@climateneutralgroup.com!

The Peninsula Offsets Conferencing Carbon Footprint

Posted by: TourismTattler, 24 April 2017

With a drive and passion for saving the planet, The Peninsula All-Suite Hotel is dedicated to improving the health conditions and quality of life of families less privileged throughout South Africa by providing them with a simple cooking device – The Wonderbag. Header image credit: Climate Neutral Group.

The Wonderbag is a revolutionary non-electric heat-retention slow cooker that continues to cook food that has been brought to the boil for up to 12 hours without the use of additional fuel or electricity.  It provides communities with greener, safer and more reliable energy to cook their everyday meals.

As a solution to offset the carbon emissions generated through the Peninsula’s meeting rooms and conference facilities, caused by the need for lighting, cleaning, catering, heating, cooling and travelling, for every conference booked the Peninsula will donate Wonderbags to families in need through the Climate Neutral Groups Green Dreams project.

In doing so they are not only neutralising and reducing their carbon footprint but significantly contributing towards the life conditions of vulnerable communities across Africa, empowering them to progress by creating a safer and healthier environment.

Carbon Credits

The Wonderbag project is registered under the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), thereby allowing companies to credibly offset their carbon emissions whilst making a sustainable social impact in South Africa. The Wonderbag’s environmental impact is measured and monitored by internal and external researchers and audited by independent auditors as required by the VCS guidelines.

The Peninsula All-suite Hotel is managed as a professional and environmentally conscious business and will continue to identify areas of opportunity to decrease their carbon footprint and bring forward change. They will stock the Wonderbag at the hotel to guests or conferencing delegates who wish to make a difference.

Would you also like to offer climate neutral conference facilities at your hotel? Click here for more information or contact Nishanthi Lambrichs at nishanthi.lambrichs@climateneutralgroup.com

Emissions offsetting: closing the main carbon tap of your business

By Danielle de Bruin, Programme Manager Mobility / Climate Neutral Group in The Netherlands

A car leasing company called us recently with a query around sustainability and transport. “We are not offsetting emissions because we think prevention is better” was one of the statements. Upon concluding our telephone conversation, during which we agreed on many points, one issue lingered on.

Prevention is better than offsetting: is that true? To find an answer, we will need to look at two things:

1. Can companies prevent climate change just by reducing their carbon emissions?

The answer is no. Reducing emissions is not enough. Of course, every little bit helps and lowering your overall emissions from your fuel consumption and energy use is something you should definitely do. This is however not where it ends.

After all, if your kitchen is flooding because you have left the tap open, you must close the tap and mop the floor. By reducing your company’s fuel and energy consumption, thus carbon footprint, you are closing your carbon emission tap only a little, say by up to 20%, if you are doing everything right.

The problem is that you can’t ignore the remaining 80%. A transition to electric transport could be a structural solution, but it could take many years before we reach that point. Do we have time to wait for this? I don’t think so. You can’t say: “I am sorry your kitchen is flooded. I will return next month to close the tap.”

2. Is there a difference between reducing emissions and offsetting?

The answer is no. Please allow me to explain why.

In the Netherlands, our infrastructure is largely based on fossil fuels. We fill up our cars with petrol and diesel and the bulk of our electricity is generated from coal. We all know how much effort it takes to change this: coal plants aren’t after all easily closed. In essence, we are all on the fossil fuel highway together, whilst making hairpin bends towards a more sustainable economy. Meanwhile, dozens of emerging markets around the world are developing rapidly, and are embarking on a similar path as the developed world a good few years ago. These countries will have to make the same hairpin bends in 20 years’ time to get rid their fossil fuels.

What is offsetting all about?

Offsetting means investing in sustainable energy projects in countries which are developing at a fast pace to prevent reliance on fossil fuels. One can, for instance, invest in wind turbines in India. With this, you are investing in clean, sustainable electricity grids from the word go – preventing emerging economies from becoming dependent on fossil fuels.

In other words, does offsetting equal reduction?

The answer is: yes. Offsetting is much more than closing the tap or mopping the floor. Offsetting your emissions means you are aware of the fact that greenhouse gases originate from several taps and that you have to close the largest, not just the most obvious. We essentially all benefit from offsetting.

The following day, I called the lease company and explained the above. The result? The firm in question is now one of our clean transport ambassadors in The Netherlands, and it is persuading their clients to offset their emissions. What about you?

The above is applicable to South Africa. Please contact us to see how your company can start reducing and offsetting its carbon emissions.