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Sati Carbon Savvy Featured
October / November 2022

Table-grape producers become carbon savvy

SA Fruit Journal: October / November 2022

Over the last decade, local table-grape producers have been working hard to mitigate their environmental impact by reducing their carbon footprint. By Jorisna Bonthuys

Table-grape producers take very seriously the amount of carbon dioxide released into the earth's atmosphere as a result of their farm-to-plate production activities – their carbon footprint.

This is evident in the Confronting Climate Change (CCC) initiative's latest industry-specific Benchmark Report 2022.

More than 18 800 ha of SA's table-grape vineyards are included in the initiative's database. This represents 53% of the total area under table-grape production in the country.

Since 2011, the initiative has been helping producers monitor their emissions with its online, industry-wide carbon calculator. This calculator (the CCC tool) was developed by representatives from the fruit and wine industry, in collaboration with Blue North Sustainability (a consulting practice).

The tool enables growers to calculate their emissions, identify emission "hotspots" in their operations, and decide where to focus emission reduction efforts.

"The better you understand your carbon footprint, the more effectively you can manage your operations to become more resource efficient," says Carina Wessels, CCC project manager.

Working out your carbon footprint starts with knowing the inputs – how much of each emission source was consumed. "This kind of information enables producers to put in place best-practice management systems to reduce their emissions in a way that makes business sense," she says.

Users who calculate their carbon footprint using the CCC tool have the option to submit their data to the initiative's technical team for checking and grading. To ensure the quality and accuracy of the average or "benchmark" results, calculated and released annually by the CCC, only checked and graded datasets are included in the benchmark calculation.

Participating farmers are given access to the results of other farms in their region that grow the same commodity. However, the results remain anonymous.

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