Energy and carbon management specialists, Pangolin Associates, celebrate a client’s ‘Australian first’. Ross Hill Wine Group in Orange NSW has just received carbon neutral certification under the National Carbon Offset Standard (NCOS). It is the first Australian winery to achieve the Australian Government-recognised certification.
Whilst other schemes exist, they are the tailored creations of a few carbon management companies. NCOS is the only Federal Government endorsed process, and it is a seriously significant achievement. Pangolin has helped large and medium-sized organisations through NCOS, but the wine group demonstrates that it is also possible for a small, and a rural-based business. For Ross Hill, the NCOS logo is a badge that proves just what a small business can do.
Pangolin Associates Managing Director, Iain Smale, points out: “NCOS certified carbon neutrality ensures consumers that Ross Hill has taken extensive, well-planned measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions caused by their business. Consumers and supply chains can trust it to be genuine, no green washing. We hear more and more that this is an important part of deciding whether to purchase, or do business with a company.”
Under NCOS, Ross Hill needed to show clear, third party documented evidence of greenhouse gas measurement and reductions. Remaining emissions, those that Ross Hill could not eliminate, were offset via globally recognised carbon abatement projects, or certified carbon credits. Smale comments, “The combination of reductions and abatement means that Ross Hill legitimately achieved net emissions equal to zero, or carbon neutrality.”
The winery’s NCOS certification is opportune. With the Paris Climate Change Conference in progress and world leaders discussing measures such as carbon neutrality, greenhouse gas reduction is front of mind for businesses and consumers alike.
Yet despite the well timed achievement, Ross Hill’s process was a multi step, multi year plan. For example, Ross Hill moved to pesticide free production, and began to use natural wild yeast in the manufacturing process.
Peter Robson, Chairman of Ross Hill Wine Group explains further, “Our environmental policy sees no use of insecticides, and reduced irrigation impact through a program of mulching cover crops planted between the rows between autumn and winter.”
In addition to improved water management, in 2013 Ross Hill installed solar photovoltaic panels, which reduced energy requirements by 26 per cent for the winery and vineyards.
NCOS certification is not a one off achievement. Ross Hill must continue third party audits in the years to come to maintain its status. Pangolin Associates provided the annual carbon footprints and documentation for the 2015 certification, and will work closely with the wine group as plans to extend certification, currently for its operations, to its products is underway.
Pangolin’s team has also introduced new sustainability opportunities, such as turning grape marc, the stems, seeds and pulp remains, into biodiesel. This is now part of Ross Hill’s sustainability plan.
About Pangolin Associates
Pangolin Associates Pty Ltd has offices in Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth. The consultancy works with businesses and governments across Australia helping to increase efficiencies and competitiveness whilst reducing carbon, energy and other environmental impacts.
Pangolin’s services include comprehensive greenhouse gas assessments (carbon footprints), energy efficiency audits, verification and assurance services, and carbon offsetting. Pangolin’s scientific team has comprehensive experience and the highest level of environmental accreditations. Auditors are registered with the Australian Government’s Clean Energy Regulator. Pangolin Associates is a founding Certified B Corporation.
About Ross Hill Wine Group
Ross Hill Wine Group was established in the wine region of Orange in 1994 when Terri and Peter Robson planted 12 hectares of vines (750-850m). Their son James and his wife Chrissy joined them in 2006. The Ross Hill winery at Wallace Lane has a further 5 hectares of vine (1018m). In 2008 winemakers Phil and Rochelle Kerney joined the business.
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