Holistic Hospitality - Items filtered by date: May 2014

Wednesday, 21 May 2014 01:52

Food and Beverage Industry Fails

Australians who enjoy a bowl of Cornflakes in the morning may be shocked to learn that Kellogg’s is among the worst performing of ten major food and drink companies when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions, Oxfam Australia said today.

The report, Standing on the Sidelines – why food and beverage companies must do more to tackle climate change, calls on the ‘laggards’ of the food and beverage industry, Kellogg’s and General Mills (Old El Paso, Latina pasta), to up their game on reducing emissions within their supply chain, along with the rest of the top 10 food and beverage companies. Oxfam Australia’s food policy specialist Kelly Dent said that the top ten food and beverage companies together emitted more greenhouse gases than Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Norway combined.

“If they were a single country, they would be the 25th most polluting country in the world,” Ms Dent said.  “The ‘Big 10’ companies could cut their emissions by 80 million tonnes by 2020 – when global emissions need to start reducing in order for the world to stay within a safe climate – which would be the equivalent to taking all Australian cars off the road.”

The global food system – including sources from production of agricultural inputs like fertiliser, to emissions from agricultural production, refrigeration and transport - accounts for about 25 – 27 per cent of global emissions.

The ‘Big 10’ companies are Associated British Foods, Coca-Cola, Danone, General Mills, Kellogg’s, Mars, Mondelez International, Nestle, PepsiCo and Unilever. Of their total emissions, about half come from the production of agricultural materials from their supply chains, yet these emissions are not covered by the reduction targets the companies have set.

Ms Dent said some of the companies had admitted that climate change was already hurting them financially. Unilever says it now loses $444 million (US $415 million) a year, while General Mills reported losing 62 days of production in the first fiscal quarter of 2014 alone because of extreme weather conditions that are growing worse because of climate change.

Oxfam predicts that the price of key products like Kellogg’s Corn Flakes could rise over the next 15 years – for example, up to 44 per cent in the UK - because of climate change. “Too many of today’s food and beverage giants are crossing their fingers and hoping that climate change won’t disrupt the food system, imagining someone else will fix it,” Ms Dent said.

Oxfam singled out Kellogg and General Mills as two of the worst on climate change and is calling on them to put in place more responsible policies and practices.

“As companies that are deeply exposed to climate impacts, it’s in the interest of food and beverage companies to see a more ambitious national and global response. We are therefore urging them to also speak up for stronger government policies and programs to tackle climate change,” she said

Published in Holistic Hospitality
Wednesday, 21 May 2014 01:41

Jets Fuelled by Trees

Aircraft powered by biofuel made from Australian mallee trees is not only possible, but could be sustainable and give a boost to potential new regional industries, according to a report published today by the Future Farm Industries Cooperative Centre (CRC).

The mallee jet fuel sustainability and life-cycle assessment report - produced with funding from Airbus and support from industry partners Virgin Australia, Renewable Oil Corporation, Dynamotive and IFPEN - provides enough evidence to support continued R&D on mallee production and bio-oil upgrading, and to inform the business case for commercial production starting in Western Australia (WA).

The report was launched during the CRC Association conference in Perth with key airline representatives present, including Airbus New Energies Programme Manager Frédéric Eychenne, and Virgin Australia Regional Airlines Group Executive Merren McArthur.

Speaking at the launch, CRC Research Director Dr John McGrath said the mallee jet fuel project looked at the Great Southern region of WA as a case study, examining the potential of a complete industry supply chain from grower to aviation user.

“We already know that mallee growing integrates well with farm crop and livestock operations and can benefit natural resources in a number of ways, such as protecting and enhancing biodiversity, and contributing to rebalancing water tables. What this report demonstrates is that mallees can provide a future economic benefit to farmers and regional communities, with a viable industry possible by 2021,” said Dr McGrath.

“The scenario tested was based on what we know from existing plantings, and indicates that mallees could occupy up to six per cent of paddocks, or about one per cent of the Great Southern region.

The proposed mallee-based biofuels industry – including harvesting, transport and production – could provide employment for 40 people and bring about $30 million per year with the first regional plant.

The life-cycle carbon emissions analysis estimated jet flights leaving Perth Airport powered by 100 per cent mallee jet fuel sourced from Great Southern region farms could emit 40 per cent less greenhouse gases compared to those using petroleum-based jet fuel.

Great Southern farmers growing mallees on marginal cropping soils will benefit from higher profits and more uniform income, offsetting variable crop income.

Importantly, integrated trees only cover a small part of the landscape so mallees grown for jet fuel would not significantly displace food crops. As it is a ‘second-generation’ biofuel coming from a woody source and not food crop, it does not compete directly with food supplies.

Virgin Australia Regional Airlines Group Executive, Merren McArthur, said, “Virgin Australia remains committed to supporting innovative Australian research into the feasibility of aviation biofuels and reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Australia.

Published in Holistic Hospitality

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