From the 31st October to 12th November 2021 the COP26 summit in Glasgow will bring together parties to accelerate action towards to the goals of the Paris agreement and the UN targets on climate change. Many believe this event is the world’s best last chance to get climate change back under control. COP stands for ‘Conference of the Parties’ and these conferences have been taking place for nearly three decades. This year being the 26th annual summit. In that time the climate crisis has gone from being on the edge of general awareness to a global priority.
Why is it so important?
The nationally determined contributions, or NDC’s defined in the Paris agreement in 2015 are no longer adequate to prevent a potentially disastrous future. Around 25,000 people are expected to attend this year’s conference in order to revise and reduce the targets agreed in 2015. The four key aims include:
- Securing global net zero by mid-century and keeping 1.5 degrees within reach. This means drastically reducing global emissions and preventing a global temperature increase above 1.5 degrees.
- Adapt to protect communities and natural habitats by protecting and restoring ecosystems.
- Mobilise finance. Developed countries must follow through on their promise to mobilise at least 100bn dollars in climate finance.
- Work together to deliver. Collaboration is the only way to make a change.
We particularly appreciate the fourth point. At Quinola we understand that small changes by individuals can make a big impact. By thinking more generously about our actions we can help to make a difference.
What are we doing?
So how do we come into this? First of all, quinoa as a food product and a staple has a much lower carbon emission than its general counterpart – rice. The average impact of 1kg of quinoa is around 1.48kg of CO2. According to Mike Berners-Lee, author of How Bad are Bananas? The Carbon Footprint of Everything, efficiently produced rice generates about 2.5kg of CO2. The average rice production is around 4kg, and inefficient production with excessive use of fertilizer generates about 6.1kg. Even in comparison to the most efficiently produced rice, quinoa produces nearly 50% less emissions than rice.
Our quinoa is organically produced meaning no harmful chemicals or fertilizers are used in the production of our quinoa. The farmers we work with use no pesticides and practice dry agriculture to preserve precious water resources. They also rotate their crops to allow the land to regenerate post-harvest.
We also ensure to offset the maritime carbon emissions of all of our products. We work with a company called Pur Project to help offset our maritime transport emissions. They understand the importance of not only planting trees to counteract deforestations but also that prevention of deforestation is one of the best solutions. Protecting existing, fully grown trees that can help remove CO2 from the atmosphere has a greater short-term impact than the planting new trees – although this is still very good.
Currently “chopping trees down already accounts for 18 per cent global emissions” (p.89, Berners-Lee). Protecting our existing eco-systems is one of the key aims of COP26 and we want to do the best we can to help. Since it began, the reforestation project we co-finance in Jubilación Segura in Peru have successfully planted and grown 1,624,492 trees as well as protecting the existing forests in the area. The next verification of the project by the will take place in 2024, when the credits corresponding to Quinola’s emissions will be recognised.
The final point we’d like to talk about is plastic. While we know that it is far from perfect to use plastic in our pouches, we are trying our best as a small business by taking as many steps as we can, where we can, to do better and are always searching for better solutions. We have chosen to use plastic in our pouches as the carbon impact of a plastic pouch in comparison to glass is much less. To compensate for our use of plastic we ensure that every pouch we use is offset through a recycling and waste program run by RePurpose Global. All our products are certified plastic neutral. The work RePurpose do helps to empower waste workers in India giving them access to necessary hygiene equipment and giving them a better quality of life, with stable incomes.
Berners-Lee, Mike. How Bad Are Bananas? The Carbon Footprint of Everything. United Kingdom, Profile, 2020.