A Positive Climate
We accept the science on climate change and recognise it as an existential threat to our planet and society. We will strive to ensure our company does its fair share in the fight against global warming.
Our approach to tackling climate change involves reducing avoidable emissions, sequestering carbon via sustainable farming methods and investing in efficient technologies and renewable energy solutions.
As a result of two separate Life Cycle Analysis/greenhouse gas assessments conducted by environmental consultants, it has been proven that at Cobram Estate Olives we capture more carbon than we emit, to grow, produce and market our extra virgin olive oil. For every 1 litre of olive oil produced, we sequester 4kg of CO2-e (carbon dioxide equivalent).
Combined with good horticultural practices, the perennial nature of olives makes it an ideal crop in terms of carbon sequestration. With a commitment to continuous improvement, we are exploring other opportunities to decarbonise our value chain and have identified renewable energy and packaging as two priority areas to focus our efforts.
We have partnered with the Carbon Farming Foundation (CFF) and have registered a reforestation project with the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) that will aim to sequester an estimated 50,000 tCO2-e over a 25-year period by planting native tree species on approximately 500 hectares across our Boundary Bend grove.
Responsible Resource Management
Olives are a resilient and tolerant crop, however optimal yields rely upon important resources such as water and fertiliser, as well as pesticides, fungicides and herbicides to manage pests, diseases and weeds.
As an irrigator we acknowledge the importance of sustainable water extraction to feed our population and maintain healthy water ecosystems.
Wherever possible we will explore ways to increase resource efficiency, adopt sustainable alternatives and minimise harmful substances.
Water stewardship is important to our organisation, both in terms of minimising our consumption and our shared responsibility with irrigators to ensure the watersheds we rely upon are not over utilised at the expense of the natural ecosystem balance. In particular, we recognise that the health of the Murray River in Australia, and the Sacramento River in the U.S is impacted by water extraction, particularly in times of drought and climate stress.
During the past 20 years Cobram Estate Olives has invested heavily in optimising the efficient use of water, as a result our orchards produce olive oil with a consumption of water 37% lower per ton of olive oil than the industry average. Examples of initiatives to achieve this feat include:
Compared to other edible oil crops, olives are one of the most efficient in terms of nitrogen and phosphorous fertiliser consumption. At Cobram Estate Olives, fertigation practices are continuously monitored through regular soil, soil water solution, and tissue testing to ensure the optimal nutritional status of the trees, minimising any chances of applying excessive fertilisers.
It is estimated that we produce olive oil with a consumption of nitrogen fertiliser 61% lower (per ton) than the industry average, and consumption of phosphorus 83% lower (per ton) than the industry average.
Pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides
A range of initiatives have been trialled to limit our use of pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides. We have phased out the usage of organophosphates and other broad-spectrum insecticides by developing a unique program of breeding and releasing natural predators and parasitoids, as well as the trial and adoption of low environmental impact growth regulators
Towards Zero Waste
We have embarked on several initiatives to limit the amount of waste occurring across our operations. Our olive pits are now used as a renewable energy source to heat our boilers and surplus stock is sold to other businesses for similar purposes.
We utilise the olive leaves to make our Stone & Grove™ branded olive leaf tea and WellGrove® olive leaf extracts, and any pruned branches are mulched and returned to the soil. Our olive pomace waste is now used as soil amendment to reduce chemical fertiliser requirements.
We have recently designed and acquired an olive pomace treatment plant and are piloting an industry initiative to discover additional opportunities that can be commercialised by rapidly removing moisture content from the waste; this project is partly funded by the Victorian Government through Sustainability Victoria and aims to benefit the entire olive industry in Australia.
Currently, it has been calculated that less than 0.5% of our total production outputs end up in land fill (excludes our co-manufactured products, Stone & Grove® and Wellgrove®)
Biodiversity & Sustainable Land Use
A biodiverse planet is essential to human wellbeing and as landowners we are responsible for not only maintaining but encouraging biodiversity and healthy terrestrial ecosystems.
Cobram Estate Olives is focused on land management and minimising any biodiversity loss in our sites. Some examples of key actions and practices include: