The Carbon Protocol of South Africa has awarded Fairview Vineyard Cheesery in Paarl as the first carbon neutral cheesery on the African continent. The Paarl based business began its quest to achieve carbon neutral status in September 2009.
A comprehensive assessment of its carbon footprint, by Promethium Carbons organisational carbon audit, revealed that the cheesery had an annual footprint of 1743 tons/CO2e, associated with the production of its cheese products. The business embarked on an emissions reduction project to offset this organisational footprint, via emission avoidance and emission sequestration. Carbon offsets
Under the guidance of Earth Patrol, SA Carbon Management consultancy, the cheesery became involved in two primary carbon-offsetting projects:
- 145 trees were planted on Fairview's farm, at the Mbekweni and Mboniselo Primary Schools, Ihlumelo Intermediate School, Rusthof old age home and a public park in the Drakenstein municipality, to actively reduce the amount of CO2 and other harmful GHGs in the environment.
- Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLS) were installed free of charge, replacing older inefficient, incandescent lamps in the workers houses at the farm and various areas across KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng. This included low income and subsidised housing areas and special needs centres such as old age homes, orphanages and shelters. The lamp switch of 7,812 bulbs, contributed to a 60% reduction in the electricity used for lighting across the buildings where the lamps were installed and this will lead to a financial savings of over R2.6 million in the cost of electricity to these residents over the lifetime of the technology (5 years).
The cheesery also erected solar panels, which reduce the energy usage by a third and an economiser was purchased to enable the cheesery to use steam to heat the water in the boiler, reducing boiler fuel consumption by approximately 130 litres per day.
Charles Back, owner of Fairview, says they will continue working towards becoming a greener, more environmentally aware business. "The company will strive towards innovation and education in the interest of protecting the environment for future generations."