Carbon Footprint for ZESPRI® Kiwifruit

Media Release - 19 May 2009

ZESPRI has today advised the absolute figure for the carbon footprint of ZESPRI® Kiwifruit exported to Europe. This is in response to numerous enquiries following the announcement of the carbon equivalent emissions throughout the lifecycle of ZESPRI® Kiwifruit.

The study, which measured the carbon footprint across the entire lifecycle of New Zealand Kiwifruit, was conducted in association with the New Zealand Ministry of Agriculture & Forestry (MAF), Landcare Research, Massey University, Plant & Food Research and AgriLINK. ZESPRI was selected as the lead partner for the horticulture sector.

The methodology used in the study parallels the UK’s PAS 2050 standard, launched in November 2008 and widely viewed as the most robust carbon emission measurement tool available for retail-based food products.1 This project focused on developing the carbon footprint measurement methodology and is expected to contribute to any final methodology being introduced to global standards authorities.

There is potential for confusion to arise should figures derived using other methodologies be compared and contrasted with ZESPRI’s. To demonstrate this point, information provided in the literature review for this study presented figures for tomatoes from Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands and Spain with significant variation in results, ranging from 0.8 - 5.6 kg CO2 eq/kg fruit. A study in the US investigating rice excluded carbon emissions relating to the transport from retailer to consumer and presented a figure of 6.4kg CO2 eq/kg.

When reviewing the ZESPRI® Kiwifruit carbon footprint number it is important to remember that there is no current, globally accepted methodology for measuring carbon footprints. However ZESPRI wanted to be pro-active and at least start the process with the most robust and accepted measurement tool. The number is therefore an estimate only and subject to change over time.

The study found that ZESPRI® Kiwifruit shipped and consumed in Europe contributes 1.74kg of carbon equivalents per 1.0kg of kiwifruit across its lifecycle from orchard to consumer.

It also advised that emissions at each stage of the lifecycle of ZESPRI® Kiwifruit destined for Europe:

  • Orchard operations make up 17 percent of total emissions for EU exports;
  • Packhouse and Coolstore processes account for 11 percent of total emissions;
  • Shipping accounts for 41 percent of total emissions;
  • Repacking and Retailer emissions amount to 9 percent of total emissions;
  • Consumer consumption and disposal comprises 22 percent of total emissions.

ZESPRI is now working with the kiwifruit industry on a series of initiatives to reduce its carbon footprint, focused on Orchard, Packhouse & Coolstore and Transport.

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