ZESPRI Takes Carbon Footprint

Media Release - 30 April 2009

As part of ZESPRI’s ongoing commitment to sustainability, ZESPRI has undertaken a comprehensive and robust study to measure the carbon footprint across the lifecycle of New Zealand Kiwifruit.

This study was conducted in association with the New Zealand Ministry of Agriculture & Forestry (MAF), Landcare Research, Massey University, Plant & Food Research (formerly HortResearch) and AgriLINK, with ZESPRI selected as the lead partner for the horticulture sector.

ZESPRI is the first kiwifruit marketer globally to use a measurement methodology which aligns with the UK’s PAS 2050, widely viewed as the most robust carbon emission measurement tool available.

Lain Jager, ZESPRI CEO, says this research highlights ZESPRI’s focus on sustainability.

“It’s critical that ZESPRI continues to set high sustainability performance standards and we take this responsibility very seriously. We’re fortunate to be working with global experts who have helped us to better understand our performance using a robust measurement tool, so we’re now in a position to make improvements in areas where we can have the most impact. For us the focus on sustainability, including developing a best practice approach to carbon efficiency, is a key part of our environmental responsibility and builds naturally on the initiatives introduced over the past 20 years that have seen the New Zealand Kiwifruit industry and ZESPRI take a leadership role in product quality, and food safety,” said Mr Jager.

In assessing carbon footprint, the study investigated each part of the supply chain, including Orchard Operations, Packhouse and Coolstore processes, Transport, Repacking and Retailer emissions as well as Consumer Consumption and Disposal.


The carbon footprint study has given ZESPRI a comprehensive understanding of the emissions at each stage of the lifecycle of ZESPRI® Kiwifruit:

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

*The study has been based on a ZESPRI® Kiwifruit destined for Europe.

The Minister for Agriculture, Forestry David Carter, says ZESPRI’s footprint study is a clear demonstration of New Zealand’s ongoing commitment to addressing climate change through innovative and sustainable practices.

“This study brought together government, primary sector and academic researchers to apply an internationally recognised carbon footprint methodology to leading primary producers. This methodology is now able to be used by producers and suppliers across New Zealand to assess current business practices and set in place changes that will ensure New Zealand retains a global leadership position in sustainability.”

Mr Jager says ZESPRI takes seriously its commitment to producing sustainable fruit.

“We are working with the kiwifruit industry on a series of initiatives to reduce our carbon footprint focused on the three key stages of the kiwifruit lifecycle that we have control over; Orchard, Packhouse & Coolstore and Transport.”

Industry-wide initiatives include:


  • Climate change adaptation – adjusting on-orchard practices to accommodate the changing environment. For example, one grower has converted a natural gully into two lakes which now serve as an efficient irrigation system for his orchard;
  • Focus Orchard Network – sharing best practice to optimise orchard product quality, yield and efficiencies.

Packhouse and Coolstore:

  • Waste utilisation – turning kiwifruit waste into bio-plastics which can be used for packaging;
  • Lean Manufacturing - streamlining processes, reducing waste, increasing efficiency in the packhouse.


  • Pack Optimisation - allowing a greater quantity of fruit to be shipped at one time without compromising quality;
  • Slow-steaming ships – reducing a ship’s speed by 2km/h at certain points in the season lowers diesel use by 17%;
  • The potential future use of SkySails – harnessing the wind’s energy by flying a sail 100–300m off the front of cargo ships, reducing carbon emissions and lowering operating costs.

By working with supply chain partners to identify areas for improvement, set initiatives in place and measure the impact of improvements as they are made, ZESPRI is leading the horticulture sector.

Note to Editors: The methodology used for the measurement of the carbon footprint parallels the UK PAS 2050 standard launched in November 2008 which is widely viewed as best practice.


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