An eco-friendly path
Choosing organic means embarking upon a global path towards sustainable development.
The aim is to reduce the impact of production on the environment, particularly in terms of consumption of fossil fuels and emission of greenhouse gases, while also avoiding the intensive use of land and water.
Many investments have been made to this end. The production site in Foza, on the Asiago Plateau, received the EMAS 14000 environmental certificate based on the installation of a cogeneration system, which produces hot water and electrical power from methane, reducing fuel consumption by 50%.
The entire production cycle operates with low power consumption, and uses recycled water that has been treated and purified. Photovoltaic solar-power panels have also been installed at the production site, at the administrative offices in Asiago, and at the logistics center in Verona.
Also, in 2014 Rigoni di Asiago decided to study the Carbon Footprint of three of its products, using the ‘from cradle to grave’ approach, counting any stage from extraction or cultivation of raw materials needed up till final waste disposal.
What is the Carbon Footprint (CFP)?
- The Carbon Footprint is defines as the total sets of greenhouse gas emissions caused by an organization, event, product or person.
The carbon footprint measures the impact to climate changes in progress on Earth, caused by human activities.
Greenhouse gases are measured in tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (t CO2 eq.) and are also expressed in smaller size units of measurement, like the kilogram (kg CO2 eq.).
The carbon footprint is one of the indicators available to express environmental impact along a product’s entire lifecycle, on a single environmental degradation phenomena, in this case global warming.
What is Life Cycle Assessment(LCA)?
- Lifecycle assessment is an “objective process assessing energy and environmental loads that are related to a process or activity, carried out by identifying the energy, the materials used and the waste released into the environment. The assessment affect the entire life cycle of a process or activity, including extraction and treatment of raw materials, manufacturing, transport, distribution, recycling and final disposal”.
What is the greenhouse effect?
- The Earth has a natural greenhouse effect enabling it to have an average temperature of 15°C on its surface, instead of -18°C (the natural greenhouse effect is estimated as 33°C). This is due to the ability of some gases (greenhouse gases) to withhold a part of the sun’s radiation in the low atmosphere. The anthropogenic contribution to the greenhouse effect started during the first industrial revolution (around 1780), when the human population started releasing large quantities of carbon contained in fossil fuels (coal, oil, etc.), into the atmosphere.
What is global warming?
- Global warming is a climate phenomenon indicating an increase in atmospheric and ocean temperatures. Nowadays, it is used to indicate the increase in the average earth temperatures starting from the mid 20th century. This increase was attributed by the international scientific community to increased concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere caused by human activities such as burning of fossil fuels and deforestation. Both the existing increase in average temperature and the one expected in the future, will cause the sea level to rise, a change to rainfall in different parts of the world, reduced Arctic ice and permafrost and, finally, ocean acidification.
What is the carbon or climate footprint needed for?
- As was said above, the Carbon Footprint is a doubly valid environmental indicator: it is a tool for both self-diagnosis and improvement, and a marketing tool. The first feature is useful for companies wanting to know a product’s environmental profile and identifying possible improvements in the production process, use of energy and materials.
- The second feature is useful for both a company to communicate its results, goals and improvements made objectively, and the consumer who can then choose products that are going through an ongoing improvement process or have less of an environmental impact than a competitor’s product; so as to become a more aware consumer.
What is the ministerial, carbon footprint quantification project?
- Rigoni di Asiago took part in the 2013 ministerial tender “Public tender for the analysis of the carbon footprint in the lifecycle of widely-used consumer products” as part of the national program to assess the carbon footprint.
This program is co-financed by the Ministry for the Environment, Territory and Sea consisting of analysis of the carbon footprint. The Rigoni di Asiago study planned analyzing 3 canning industry products, based on reference regulations for analyzing the lifecycle (ISO 14040, ISO 14044) and specific Carbon Footprint techniques and the related communication (ISO/TS 14067).
THE RIGONI DI ASIAGO CFP STUDY
In 2014, Rigoni di Asiago decided to study the Carbon Footprint of three of its products, using the ‘from cradle to grave’ approach, counting any stage: from extraction or cultivation of raw materials up to the final waste disposal.
The products being studied are:
- Nocciolata, 350 gr size.
- Acacia Honey, 300 gr size.
- Fiordifrutta Strawberries and wild strawberries, a fruit-based product, in the 330 gr version.
The study’s functional unit is the reference term to be associated with material consumption, materials and release into the environment, and product’s environmental profile. In this case, the functional unit for all three products was set as 1 kg of product.
To make things clearer, we can imagine we are dealing with:
THE RESULTS OF THE RIGONI DI ASIAGO CFP
Final CFP results, products compared.
Final CFP results, products compared divided by UP, CORE, DOWN stages, 100%.
The study, carried out by Rigoni di Asiago, calculated the Carbon footprint for three of the company’s representative products, examples of the three main production lines of the plant in Foza. Of the three products, the one with the most impact is Nocciolata, followed by Fiordifrutta and Acacia honey.
For all three products, the Upstream stage has the most impact; that is in cultivation of the raw materials, the extraction of materials for packaging, the transportation to the plant. More specifically, Nocciolata has over 80% impact in the Upstream stage; while for Fiordifrutta and Acacia Honey have about 60%.
In the lifecycle, the next impact stage is the Core process, worth, proportionately and in absolute values, more for Fiordifrutta (about 35%) than for the others. This is due to supplies, refrigerated transport and steam used in the production process.
Finally, the end-of-life has fairly similar values in absolute terms for all three products (with some percentage differences on the total), and the slight differences are due to distribution towards foreign markets.
A Carbon Footprint analysis is a starting point for diagnosing all company processes, a crucial tool for triggering a virtuous, ongoing improvement cycle, implementing actions to progressively decrease environmental impact.