The olive tree's ability to absorb CO2 emissions

The olive tree's ability to absorb CO2 emissions

2018/23/11 - The headquarters of the International Olive Oil Council (IOC) in Madrid organized an international seminar on olive and climate change, which analyzed the positive environmental impact of this crop. In this forum, the participants -from the academic world, government institutions, research centers and international organizations- shared their vision on the real and positive effects of olive cultivation, an ecosystem that, according to this agency, captures CO2 from the atmosphere and stores it in the long term both in the plant and in the soil.

The International Olive Council has developed an algorithm to calculate the carbon footprint of olive oil. The IOC has created this important tool with the help of experts in the field from all over the world. The tool is now available to all via this link: http ://carbonbalance-pre.internationaloliveoil.org/en

The results of the project were presented by Jaime Lillo, the Deputy Executive Director of the IOC, and Abdelkrim Adi, the Head of the Olive Growing, Olive Oil Technology and Environment Unit, in the presence of representatives from the 15 members countries of the IOC, experts, journalists from the specialised press, representatives from the global olive sector and members of the IOC Advisory Committee on olive oil and table olives.

Non-definitive scientific studies show how certain agricultural practices can increase the ability of the soil and plants to extract CO2 from the atmosphere. Consumers seem very receptive to this approach; among those interviewed, 80% responded that they often bought agricultural products that were respectful of the environment and 66% said they read labels.

Over the course of the seminar, attendees were reminded that, for every litre of olive oil produced, 10.65kg of CO2 is extracted from the atmosphere, and global production of olive oil could even absorb the equivalent CO2 emissions of a city with a population of over 7 million, or the size of Hong Kong. This shows that producing olive oil is good for the environment as the olive tree is able to extract more CO2 out of the atmosphere than other plants.

The carbon footprint study is constantly changing and the connections made at the IOC seminar will encourage institutions, universities and researchers to work together to expand on the research already conducted. This collaboration received the praise and support from the Tunisian Minister for Agriculture, Samir Taieb, and the Egyptian Minister for Agriculture, Ezz El Din Abu Steit, who congratulated the IOC for its work during their speech at the end of the seminar. The Executive Director, Abdelatif Ghedira, gave the closing speech.

World Olive Day

Last night, we celebrated World Olive Day at IOC headquarters in the presence of the Agricultural Ministers for Spain, Luis Planas, for Tunisia, Samir Taieb, and for Egypt, Ezz El Din Abu Steit, as well as a number of authorities and accredited diplomatic bodies. I welcome you here today to celebrate the IOC’s commitment to the sector, as we celebrate alongside representatives from five continents. Since its creation in 1959, the International Olive Council has regulated the olive-growing sector and worked towards defining and elaborating norms and standards of quality in the international trade of olive oils and table olives. We work for the good of the sector at all stages of the production chain, from the first farmer to the final consumer.

Today, Mr Ghedira continued, we move onto a new phase in our development that brings us to answer the question so often brought to us: why the IOC? Aside from its role of safeguarding quality and standards, the IOC is above all a hotbed of over a thousand specialists and experts in the field of olive-growing. Researchers, engineers, economists, chemists, tasters, nutritionists, statisticians… all engage with the science as one through the forum that is the IOC, in the planned meetings and the over 150 laboratories officially recognised by us around the world.

For this reason, the IOC constitutes a unique scientific forum for the internationally renowned olive-growing sector. It interacts with a range of institutions, both in the private sector, through the Advisory Committee on Olive Oils and Table Olives, putting us at the heart of the day-to-day realities of olive-growing; and in the regional and international organisations dedicated to implementing activities for mutual interest and benefit.

According to official statistics, world production of olive oil has increased by half in 20 years, with a tipping point occurring over the past 10 years and a demand that continues to drive supply. Consumption has doubled in new countries, to the detriment of demand in traditional consumer countries.

This trend just goes to show the lasting interest this noble product arouses, not only for the dietary benefits for the consumer, but also for the socio-economic and environmental benefits for the producer.

This World Olive Day, continued Mr Ghedira, we renew our call for producers to keep using good practices all along the production chain in order to offer consumers the best of this nectar, and for consumers to continue to demand high quality oil for their health and for a product that can help in the fight against climate change for generations to come.

Mr Ghedira concluded by renewing our call for intergovernmental, international and regional organisations to work with us in order to foster sustainable development, to ensure fair pay for small farmers in difficult areas, to conserve natural resources and to promote a healthy and balanced diet.

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