Thursday, January 22, 2009
How much does your morning glass of orange juice contribute to global warming?
PepsiCo, which owns the Tropicana brand, decided to try to answer that question. It figured that as public concern grows about the fate of the planet, companies will find themselves under pressure to perform such calculations. Orange juice seemed like a good case study.
PepsiCo hired experts to do the math, measuring the emissions from such energy-intensive tasks as running a factory and transporting heavy juice cartons. But it turned out that the biggest single source of emissions was simply growing oranges. Citrus groves use a lot of nitrogen fertilizer, which requires natural gas to make and can turn into a potent greenhouse gas when it is spread on fields.
PepsiCo finally came up with a number: the equivalent of 3.75 pounds of carbon dioxide are emitted to the atmosphere for each half-gallon carton of orange juice.
PepsiCo is among the first that will provide consumers with an absolute number for a product’s carbon footprint, which many expect to be a trend. The information will be posted on Tropicana’s Web site. The company has not yet decided if it will eventually put it on the package.
While carbon reduction efforts are generally welcomed by environmentalists, some complain that the marketing claims are backed by fuzzy numbers and dubious assumptions.
Bryan Lembke, a PepsiCo manager on the project said, "If you don’t measure it, you can’t improve it."
Read the complete story here.
Posted by mitanshu at 3:05 PM