What we do 365 days a year
Since the beginning, Alter Eco has incorporated environmental sustainability into the three main pillars of the entire brand. We truly believe it’s possible to have wholesome food that is not just good tasting and good for you but good for our community of producers and for the planet.We work closely with our global farmer communities to integrate environmental responsibility into the core foundations of our relationship. We strive to not only have a zero carbon footprint, but to continually give back to the planet.
First, we calculate our total carbon emission each year. In 2011, our total emissions came out to be 31.5 metric tons of C02. This includes every aspect from the energy used in our San Francisco office, to diesel used in tractors on the farms; the energy it takes to dry our rice in Thailand to office level business travel; from shipping ingredients to our chocolatiers in Switzerland to the gas needed for delivering quinoa to your kitchen table!
We work hard to continually reduce our footprint by taking the necessary steps to minimize the existing amount each year in every party of our supply chain. For example, by implementing an in-house localized co-packaging system at our sugar cooperative, Alter Trade, in the Philippines, our impact was reduced by over 11 mtc02e! This eliminated trucking from Oakland, CA to Sacramento to package sugar entirely out of our supply chain and instead contributed to financial sustainability for the cooperative through vertical integration.
Did you know? It takes the same amount of carbon per pound of quinoa to travel from San Francisco to Tucscon (850 miles) by land as it does from San Francisco to Bolivia (5000 miles) by sea.
INSETTING, THE NEW OFFSETTING
Alter Eco founder, Tristan Lecomte, began a carbon insetting program called Pur Projet. This organization is driven by a very dynamic network of more than 50 organizations, representing 150,000 planters in 30 countries of the global South. Aside from internal efforts to reduce, we work closely with Pur Projet and our farmers to plant trees for the amount of c02 we produce. Together, we have calculated the number of trees needed to plant in order to balance our impact.
Once an accurate understanding of impact has been defined, Alter Eco compensates for 100% of its scope emissions through the purchase of an equivalent number of offsets so that there is a zero net impact on the climate. “Contrary to offsetting, which consists in handling carbon compensation in other places by uncorrelated people and means, the insetting includes the handling of carbon compensation into the commercial dynamics of the company” (Pur Projet Catalog).
Since the beginning of its carbon neutral commitment, Alter Eco has explored a new approach which draws upon some of the ideas behind offsetting -looking for GHG abatement opportunities outside the immediate confines of the corporate boundaries-, but which seek to identify and support actions that are of relevance (and benefit) to the company’s stakeholders, in this case the producers. This approach is called insetting.
Pur Projet develops agroforestry models which combine reforestation with the strengthening of existing agricultural systems. Local producers trained by agronomists, conduct tree plantations and ensure their long-term monitoring. Trees are incredibly beneficial thanks to their positive effects on the ecosystem; they provide shadow for the crops, soil fertilization and protection against erosion, they improve per-hectare yields and nitrogen fixation, they reduce greenhouse effects through carbon sequestration and conserve water and biodiversity resources.
4,174 trees were planted by Alter Eco staff, farmers and members of Pur Projet in 2012 for the 858 mtc02 emitted throughout the previous year.