Carbon Bonding - Creating a market model through the supply-chain

Monday, November 1, 2010 by Roger Kerrison , under , , ,

Aura Sustainability has this week been involved with the launch of Mobius Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. This is the first wine in the world to be certified by the Carbon Trust, and it will carry the Carbon Reduction Label in the Australian, New Zealand and UK markets. Aura provided the management of the measurement and certification through the use of its barefootTM tools and models.

This launch is the culmination of 2 years work for Aura in building capability in product carbon footprinting. We have invested considerable resource in barefootTM, as we actually see that product carbon footprinting can provide a market model that can facilitate change, we have coined this "Carbon Bonding". Aura's Chairman, Dave Pearce outlines his thoughts on this below:

Carbon Bonding - How does it work and why should I care?

I’ll start with “why should I care?” because without that bit the “how does it work” can be a little boring, this way I think it becomes a little less so... (you may already have guessed that I’m not at the technical end of things).

If you’re reading this you are probably already aware that “Global Warming” looks to be both coming down the turn-pike and is more than likely manmade. Both points are bad news but one is marginally better than the other; that is, what man makes, man can presumably un-make. I’ve used “man” carefully here, not to exclude women but the more generic “mankind”, to emphasise the individual responsibility of global warming. I mean that you are responsible, as am I, as were our parents and our neighbours, communities, countries etc. Sure some faceless industry did its bit but always in our name, as consumers or investors or just plain citizens. So let’s get rid of the:

“It’s too big for us to deal with!”

It wasn’t too big for us to make and it’s only going to be un-made the same way, one decision at a time, made by one individual at a time. Why care? Because it’s going to influence the wellbeing of you, your children, and your neighbours, communities, countries etc if you don’t. It’s a good reason.

"So how does it work?”

Well Global Warming isn’t yet an exact science but it’s fairly clear that it’s been caused by the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere by us; mostly, but not only, by burning fossil fuels. We need to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases we are responsible for, measured as “carbon dioxide equivalents”.

Some steps are relatively easy and obvious, like burning less fuel or switching to renewable energy sources. Some decisions are not at all obvious because we don’t know which products are greenhouse gas intensive and which are not, much as we didn’t know which foods were high in salt, sugars and fats until they put the information on the label. Information is power and choosing wisely based on that information has changed the way many of us eat. It’s how we’re going to change the way we look at food, and every other product in the world, in just the same way. It’s called a carbon label and it comes with a number that shows the effect a product has, over its entire lifecycle, on greenhouse gas emissions. And that’s the technical bit, pleasantly over...

So it works by us making good decisions, one by one, based on buying products that have a carbon label on them. The more of us that do this, the more producers will take up labelling their products just to stay on store shelves. Having more carbon labels available will lead to us selecting products with lower emissions over those with higher, much as we do now with price or nutrient ingredients. Producers will strive to reduce their emissions to stay more desirable to us and so drive their supply chains to measure and reduce their emissions by choosing lower carbon inputs and components, and so on.

A market model is born and one by one we have a positive influence on global warming and our own future, which is how carbon bonding works and why I care.

Dave Pearce, Winemaker and Sustainability Strategist

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