Climate change is the greatest challenge faced by mankind since the end of the ice age. It became clear that there is such a thing as man-made climate change, and that there is an urgent need for us to limit average warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius, at the latest with the clear, unanimous vote by all 197 countries on the occasion of the World Climate Conference in Paris.

Commerce will play the decisive role in achieving this. Responsibility must be assumed by recording emissions, cutting these emissions (through increased energy efficiency, use of renewable energy sources etc.) and by offsetting residual emissions by purchasing climate certificates. These certificates serve to provide financial support for climate protection projects in developing, and newly industrializing countries. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has convincingly demonstrated that the cost of avoiding emissions equates to only 0.6 % of annual value creation, whereas a remedying of the damages resulting from a business-as-usual approach will cost many times more.

We at "Frank’s Naturprodukte GmbH" are conscious of our special responsibility, as a company, towards future generations and have acted accordingly. Having already adopted numerous measures aimed at cutting our emissions, we recently commissioned "Fokus Zukunft GmbH & Co. KG" to calculate our residual climate impact. Not only our company’s emissions were determined, but also those associated with our precursors (pumpkin seeds, transport, packaging etc.). Based on current available data, the footprint of our company is approx. 1,200 tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions per annum. Of this, 1,130 tonnes arise through our product. We have already introduced further steps to reduce this, and set ourselves ambitious goals for the years ahead, for example an increased usage of pumpkin seeds sourced from organic producers.

A successful reduction of emissions by, and the development of renewable energy sources in developing countries is crucially dependent on voluntary and resolute action by commerce in the industrialized countries. We are thus also willing to assume responsibility for the world that we will bequeath to our children and grandchildren.

Greenhouse gasses are evenly distributed in the atmosphere. It therefore makes sense to avoid emissions at their source, where the costs are lowest. Projects in developing and newly industrializing countries, furthermore, help to improve the respective economic, social and ecological situation. Emissions trading is a key driver of clean technology transfer to and sustainable economic development in developing and newly industrializing countries.

We therefore took the decision to offset our company's emissions and those of our precursors for the time period 2017-2018 NOW by purchasing 2,400 certificates. To put this into perspective: every citizen is responsible, through his or her lifestyle, for the creation of, on average, 10 tonnes of CO2 each year. The amount of the greenhouse gas CO2 offset by us is, thus, equivalent to the greenhouse gasses generated each year by around 240 Austrian inhabitants.

"Frank’s Naturprodukte GmbH" is, thereby, one of the first companies in Austria to offset its emissions in accordance with the Kyoto Protocol. What's more, according to our enquiries, we are the first oil mill to offer its customers climate-neutral pumpkin seed oil.

The growth of our pumpkin seeds is equally dependent on solar energy and water. We therefore decided to support projects working with these technologies on three continents, and namely a photovoltaic project in India, and hydropower projects in Guatemala, Uganda and China. It was especially important for us to only select climate protection projects run under the auspices of the United Nations and, moreover, validated by European companies.

Specifically, these comprise the following projects:

 

To conclude, some definitions associated with the term „Climate Neutrality“:

  • What is a CO2 Footprint or Carbon Footprint?

The CO2 Footprint is a measure of the amount of greenhouse gasses (measured in CO₂ equivalents), arising, directly or indirectly, from an activity of an individual, a company or an organization or from a product. It includes the emissions generated by raw material extraction, production, transport, trading, use, recycling and disposal. The rationale behind the CO2 Footprint or Carbon Footprint is, accordingly, to create a basis on which effects on climate can be measured, evaluated and compared. This makes it possible to recognize necessary abatement potential, and to develop and evaluate the effectiveness of counter measures. 

  • What is climate change and what are its impacts?

Climate change is not, as too many people still believe, just an environmental issue, but rather an all-encompassing menace, because it will drastically change both production and living conditions. Climate change is being caused by the emission of greenhouse gasses released into the atmosphere in ever increasing amounts since the start of industrialization. These have been produced, above all, by the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, gas and oil. The planet has subsequently already warmed by around 1.2 degrees Celsius. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates that the surface temperature of the earth will increase by a further 4 degrees Celsius by the end of the century if we do not act decisively. The world community has reached an agreement that warming must be limited to less than 2 degrees Celsius in order to avoid catastrophic consequences. The outcomes of climate change are wide-ranging and affect ecosystems, commerce and health through extreme temperatures and changing rainfall patterns. Climate change is also causing rising sea levels, because water expands as it warms, and through the release of large quantities of water into the seas from melting glaciers and ice sheets. Not all regions are equally affected by climate change. Most at risk are coastal areas and impoverished regions with limited opportunities to adapt to the effects of climate change, such as increased drought or heavy rains and flooding. The result: exacerbated poverty and migration in such regions.

  • What can we do to counteract  climate change?

There are several possible ways to curb climate change. The most important of these are:

1. Avoidance of greenhouse gas emissions by maximizing energy and material efficiency, changing consumption habits, buying regional goods and development of regional value chains;

2. Energy production from sustainable renewable energy sources (wind, water, sun) instead of from fossil fuels;

3. Reduction of atmospheric greenhouse gas levels through the use of so-called carbon sinks. These absorb CO2 from the air and store it in the form of biomass, or in the ground.

 

Further information can be found, for example, at: http://www.fokus-zukunft.com/