First carbon neutral potato produced for the UK market

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Grown by Puffin Produce in Pembrokeshire, Wales, Root Zero potatoes have achieved carbon neutral certification.

According to Puffin Produce, the decision to become climate neutral was motivated by the desire to reduce the negative impacts of agri-food production on climate change.

“The food system contributes up to 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions, causing the planet to warm faster than ever. We need to act now – so our mission is to become carbon neutral and cultivate in a way that protects and regenerates our land, plants and wildlife ”,said Huw Thomas, CEO of Puffin Produce.

” It is not easy. We have used the best scientific advice and partnered with organizations that help us measure, reduce and certify our impact.

A collaborative approach to carbon neutrality

Puffin Produce measures its environmental impact on the farm with the Cool Farm tool. More specifically, the tool measures its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions on the farm and carbon sequestration in the soil.

The producer has also worked with management consulting firm 2Keel to calculate its carbon footprint, help select carbon offset projects and design carbon elimination initiatives.

“We believe in total transparency and the only real way to measure our true impact when we count carbon is to count everything. ” according to the Root Zero brand.

“So we measured everything that contributes to our carbon footprint – from the lights in our offices and factory, to the transportation used to bring Root Zero potatoes to supermarkets, to the way you cook your potatoes at home. .

Root Zero potatoes are produced in Pembrokeshire, Wales. Image source: zero root

Puffin Produce tackles GHG emissions within its own operations and its broader value chain – covering Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions.

The total carbon footprint of its activity in 2019-2020 was 24,612 tonnes CO₂e. The carbon emissions from these calculations are equivalent to 0.532 kg of CO equivalent for each kg of potatoes sold.

Reduce CO₂ emissions

Root Zero minimizes GHG emissions from its production process by improving its farming, production and transportation practices.

In production, for example, the company grows new varieties of potatoes that do not require low temperature storage.

Regarding packaging, Root Zero is certified 100% plastic free. The paper used in its packaging is FSC certified, which means it is made from 100% renewable materials. Innovations in water-based inks and adhesive technology make the paper bag fully recyclable. It’s also home compostable – when added to a garden compost heap, it breaks down in about 200-300 days.

In agriculture, Root Zero uses more fuel-efficient tractors and electric cars, with the goal of switching to 100% green electricity from 2023.

In addition, the company also plans to produce its own green energy by installing solar panels on its production site and wind turbines on its farms.

Root Zero - cover crops planted at Morgan Scale Farm
Root Zero plants cover crops locally in Wales. Image source: zero root

Biodiversity is a key pillar of Puffin Produce’s sustainability framework. The company’s plants cover crops to accumulate carbon and nourish the soil with nutrients, sequester carbon, provide food and habitat for wildlife, and attract critical pollinators, while helping to prevent soil erosion. .

The company surrounds its fields with hedges, which also benefits wildlife and pollinators.

Lores from the Root Zero pack
Image source: zero root

“Climate change is affecting everything we do, putting soil, wildlife and our ability to grow at risk. We are developing new techniques and learning from climate change experts to improve our land management and ensure that our natural environment is strong and resilient ”,Thomas said.

“Root Zero is about cultivating responsibly and with respect for nature, cultivating in a way that minimizes or captures carbon, nurtures healthy soils and protects our local biodiversity. Our hope is that what we learn from Root Zero can provide a more sustainable future for agriculture for Pembrokeshire and beyond.

Carbon offsetting via international projects

While Root Zero’s priority is to reduce its emissions as much as possible, it has also selected projects to offset its “unavoidable” GHG emissions.

For every 1,000 t of Root Zero potatoes sold, 586 t of CO₂e are offset through three international projects.

In Nicaragua, Root Zero helps fund a bamboo afforestation project, in India, the brand helps provide a safe supply of drinking water, and in Rwanda, Root Zero gives families access to clean cooking stoves and more. more energy efficient than an open fire. cooking modes.

Looking to the future, Root Zero is committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2050. In the meantime, the company has set its own interim targets.

By 2030, the company aims to reduce the carbon intensity of its potatoes by 51% and reduce operational emissions by 46%.


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