Fairview has recently been awarded as the first Carbon Neutral Cheesery on the African continent, by The Carbon Protocol of South Africa. Acknowledging the negative effects on the environment through man-made climate change and the fact that 75% of global green house gas (GHG) emissions are generated by business*, the Fairview Vineyard Cheesery in Paarl 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 Fairview Cheesery had an annual footprint of 1,743t/CO2e, associated with the production of its cheese products. Armed with this knowledge Fairview embarked on an emissions reduction project to offset this organisational footprint, via emission avoidance and emission sequestration.
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 Carbon Dioxide (and other harmful GHG’s) in the environment.
- A total of 7,812 modern, efficient Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL light bulbs) were installed free of charge, replacing older inefficient, Incandescent Lamps (ICL light bulbs) in the workers houses at the Fairview farm, as well as in various areas across KZN and Gauteng – including low income and subsidised housing areas, and special needs centres such as old age homes, orphanages and shelters. The lamp switch 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 130lt 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.”