In our commitment to environmental stewardship, we are excited to delve into the intricacies of a topic that resonates with the core values of SIZA — The Carbon Footprint.

While having lots of fruit trees or vineyards can be beneficial for the environment, it’s important to understand that a carbon footprint is not solely determined by the number of trees or the absence of certain technologies like farming implements.  A carbon footprint is a measure of the total greenhouse gas emissions associated with a particular individual, organisation, product, or activity.

A carbon footprint takes into account all sources of greenhouse gas emissions, not just those related to the use of tractors. It includes emissions from various activities such as energy consumption, transportation, manufacturing, and other processes. Even if farming implements are used minimally, other activities may still contribute to the overall carbon footprint. The energy sources used on the farm can significantly impact the carbon footprint. If your energy comes from non-renewable sources, it contributes more to your carbon footprint. Even if you have a lot of trees, the overall energy mix matters.

If there have been recent changes in land use, such as deforestation or conversion of natural habitats, this can impact the carbon footprint. Trees absorb carbon dioxide, so having lots of trees is generally positive. However, if there’s been recent deforestation or changes in land use, it could contribute to the overall carbon balance. The way waste is managed on the farm can also influence the carbon footprint. Decomposition of organic waste in landfills can produce methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

Understanding the Carbon Footprint

A company’s carbon footprint serves as a vital metric, encapsulating the total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with its activities and operations. Measured in units of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e), it provides a comprehensive view of the business’s environmental impact, outlining its contribution to the global challenge of climate change.

Here in South Africa, every industry, including agriculture, relies on natural resources to deliver products and services to our valued clients. Recognising the finite nature of these global resources, our production processes often result in the generation of waste and greenhouse gases. The calculation of our carbon footprint encompasses these environmental aspects, including waste, greenhouse gases, and natural resource utilisations.

Towards Net Zero with Innovation

Calculating your carbon footprint is a journey toward achieving Net Zero. From packed products to waste management, and water usage to crop nutrition, you need a holistic view into the resources utilised in your production and delivery practices of products and services. SIZA developed a template that can be downloaded from the MySIZA platform to assist agricultural businesses with the process of compiling a Net Zero strategy.

Strategies for a Greener Future

To start with the process of developing a Net Zero strategy utilising SIZA’s Digital Recordkeeping Programme is the first step to empower yourself to monitor your inputs consistently throughout the year. This programme facilitates the identification of areas where excessive usage or wastage occurs, enabling you to make informed and sustainable decisions on managing your impacts. The program incorporates a feature in collaboration with Confronting Climate Change, allowing you to request the calculation of your carbon footprint based on the data captured on the MySIZA platform. This integration minimises redundancy and diminishes the reliance on manual recordkeeping.

The Digital Recordkeeping Programme plays a pivotal role in tracking both waste and energy consumption, offering valuable insights to assess the effectiveness of your waste management and energy systems. This, in turn, provides opportunities for improvement. As we embark on the journey to reduce agriculture’s carbon footprint, we wholeheartedly endorse various strategic initiatives such as:

  • Afforestation and Reforestation: Planting trees and restoring forests capture CO2, contributing to a healthier planet.
  • Renewable Energy Projects: Investing in wind farms and solar installations reduces CO2 emissions while fostering sustainable energy practices. With SIZA’s Digital Recordkeeping Program, farmers can monitor their energy consumption from the grid in comparison to the generation and utilization of renewable energy.
  • Methane Capture: Preventing potent greenhouse gas emissions from sources like landfills aligns with a commitment to responsible waste management.
  • Energy Efficiency Initiatives: Supporting programmes that enhance energy efficiency in various sectors indirectly reduces carbon emissions. The SIZA Digital Recordkeeping Program aids in monitoring your energy usage, providing a comprehensive overview of the total energy consumed.
  • Carbon Capture and Storage: Endorsing technologies that capture CO2 from industrial processes and power plants signifies our dedication to cutting-edge solutions.

As we embrace these strategies and innovations, we look forward to a future where South Africa’s agricultural practices harmonise with the well-being of our planet.  The ultimate goal is to minimise the overall impact on the climate and work towards a more sustainable and environmentally friendly operation.

 

Together, let’s pioneer a greener, more sustainable tomorrow.

For more information on the SIZA Environmental programme, feel free to contact us at enviro@siza.co.za or 021 852 8184.