Business

Spanish Olive Oil to Help Fight Climate Change

The Spanish olive oil sector will lead a European project that will study the control of greenhouse gasses during climate change through the calculation of the environmental footprints of olive oil tree cultivation and oil production.

Jan. 10, 2017
By Eduardo Hernandez

Recent News

The non-profit orga­ni­za­tion Interprofesional del Aceite de Oliva de Español will par­tic­i­pate in a European project which will cal­cu­late the envi­ron­men­tal foot­print of olive oils and their con­tri­bu­tion to reduc­ing green­house gasses.

The Spanish olive oil sector, along with the inter­pro­fes­sional group, will lead the European project titled PEF (Production Environmental Footprint) pilot, an ini­tia­tive that will study the con­trol of green­house gasses during cli­mate change through the cal­cu­la­tion of the envi­ron­men­tal foot­prints of olive oil tree cul­ti­va­tion and oil pro­duc­tion.

Climate change is a real­ity that no sci­en­tists ques­tion, and the major­ity of Spanish olive oil con­sumers have been widely aware of it, and take into account the effect on the envi­ron­ment when they make their deci­sion on which prod­ucts to pur­chase.

The EU survey Eurobarometer 367 found that 80 per­cent of Europeans are occa­sion­ally con­cerned with buying prod­ucts that in some form relate to improv­ing the envi­ron­ment. In fact, the envi­ron­men­tal impact a prod­uct is a key deter­min­ing factor with con­sumers, just behind the price and qual­ity, when making a pur­chas­ing deci­sion.

Olive oil indus­tries and chains acknowl­edge that eco­nomic sec­tors that effec­tively com­mu­ni­cate the envi­ron­men­tal infor­ma­tion of their prod­ucts will have an advan­tage over their com­peti­tors, and pro­duc­ers have been quick to iden­tify, through the use of eco­la­bels, prod­ucts and ser­vices that have a reduced envi­ron­men­tal impact through­out their life cycle.

Advertisement

In order for European olive oil con­sumers to have com­plete trust in the eco­la­bels, the European Commission has decided to launch the Pilot Lines project which will define the cat­e­gor­i­cal rules for cal­cu­lat­ing the impact that olive oils have on the envi­ron­ment.

In that con­text, the European Commission aims to develop a strate­gi­cal appa­ra­tus that will estab­lish a single method to mea­sure the envi­ron­men­tal foot­print of a prod­uct (PEF) or an orga­ni­za­tion (Organization Environmental Footprint-OEF) which will focus on its life cycle. The project is expected to begin in early 2017, involv­ing the stake­hold­ers and researchers of coun­tries includ­ing Spain, Italy, Grace and Portugal.

The inter­pro­fes­sional group’s main objec­tive for the project is to improve the actual model that is cur­rently being used to mea­sure the envi­ron­men­tal foot­print and which only reflects the neg­a­tive impact of the life cycle of olive oil, ignor­ing the impor­tant role that agri­cul­ture and olive groves play in the fight against cli­mate change.

Advertisement

According to the data pre­sented by the International Olive Council at the Climate Change Conference held in November in Marrakech, tech­ni­cians esti­mated that the life cycle of one liter of olive oil, from when it’s pro­duced until it’s con­sumed, gen­er­ates 1.5 kilo­grams of carbon diox­ide for each kilo­gram of oil pro­duced. The eco­la­bel projects are seen as a way to boost the European olive oil busi­ness as well as the envi­ron­ment.