How does Olive Oil capture 10kg of Carbon?
Note: 1 litre of olive oil captures 10kg of carbon
The International Olive Oil Council (IOC) published a research report in 2017 (in Spanish). This report sets out the conclusion that 1 litre of olive oil (or 1kg) captures, on average 10kg of carbon.
To be specific, the IOC, concludes that 1 litre of Olive Oil captures 10.51kg of carbon. This is based on the average production of olive oil from the olives produced by the olive trees. However, here at Serriana, we use the calculation of 10kg per litre.
Essentially, the IOC research looked at the production of olive oil across the Western Mediterranean, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and Greece and concluded, that on average, the carbon capture of a litre of olive oil is 10.51kg across the region.
This research was based on all types of cultivation and altitude. This includes olive trees close to sea level to mid mountain olive groves; irrigated and non-irrigated grove; as well as intensive production, low intensity production and mid intensive production.
Notably, from a carbon capture point of view, the report did not distinguish between organic and non-organic olive oil production. We can assume that this is because there is no significant difference. In other words, most olive oil production is already close to organic and fertilizers are used sparingly or where it is necessary to help an olive grove to recover. For instance, after a forest fire or other disaster.
However, the IOC is reporting a net carbon capture of 10.51kg:
In other words, the production of a litre of olive oil, through the cultivating of olive trees captures 14.29kg.
And, the IOC calculates that the carbon cost of the production, harvesting and packaging, amounts to 3.78kg of carbon per litre of olive oil.
Hence, after the carbon cost of farming (such as energy used to pump water, or any moderate use of fertilizers), pruning the olive trees, the harvesting and milling of the olive and the packaging of the olive oil, the IOC's net result is a carbon capture ,per litre of olive oil, is 10.51kg across the western Mediterranean.
This is further evidence that olive oil is a highly sustainable product. And that farming olives is a low carbon impact activity.
However, with the IOC research, we don't have the ability to calculate the carbon cost of the distribution of olive oil.
Hence, we have used Carbon Cloud's calculation of the carbon cost of production of olive oil (note, this does not include the carbon capture of the olive trees).
Using this calculation, we can see that Carbon Cloud calculates the transport cost of 0.75l of olive oil to be 17% of the 2.9kg of carbon. Or, in effect, 0.49kg per three quarter litre of olive oil.
Therefore, to be sure, we have taken the 0.49kg from our net carbon capture figure of 10.51kg and we are left with 10.02kg of carbon capture.
Perhaps we should adjust slightly for the size of the bottle? Well, actually, at Serriana, we deliver in larger quantities, 1 litre, 2 litre and 3 litres (coming soon via our olive oil refill service) and hence, our transport costs *should* be lower!
Equally, we have used recycled materials in over 80% of our packaging and ship from Spain to neighbouring countries on pallets - all of which *should* mean(s) that we beat this average figure.
Still, our ability to eat a sustainable food - Serriana Olive Oil - which recaptures carbon is already remarkable when you consider that 1kg of butter costs 17kg in carbon!
Hence, if you bought one kg of butter less and one kg of olive oil more - you would avoid a carbon cost of 17kg and achieve a carbon capture of 10kg - a net gain of 27kg!
So, after all, here at Serriana, we are happy to take an average figure of 10kg per litre until there is more granular research available.