14 - 2009

How Green Is Orange Juice?

In a nutshell, unless you live in Florida: Not very.

This week, I was touched in two ways by Tropicana’s new effort to tell the world it’s green. First, I got an e-mail from some cousins in California telling us that they had used their OJ code to protect 100 square feet of rainforest in Mlle. Cheap’s name. That led us to click on the link in the e-mail and learn more about Tropicana (PepsiCo’s) sustainability efforts.

Then, this morning, I saw this post on yesterday’s Green Daily, titled What is Your OJ Doing for the Planet?.

And that in turn reminded me of a more objective article in The New York Times that a reader sent to me back in January. Among other things, the article addresses PepsiCo’s study of the carbon impact of orange juice production:

PepsiCo finally came up with a number: the equivalent of 3.75 pounds, or 1.7 kilograms, of carbon dioxide are emitted to the atmosphere for each half-gallon, or 1.9 liter, carton of orange juice. But the company is still debating how to use that information. Should it cite the number in its marketing, and would consumers have a clue what to make of it?

PepsiCo’s experience is a harbinger of the complexities other companies may face as they come under pressure to calculate their emission of carbon dioxide, a number known as a carbon footprint, and eventually to lower it.

In the past year or so, carbon impact as a measure of environmental damage or lack thereof became a buzzword, then fell out of favor. Now I hear very little about it. So it’s great to see a large company like this taking action to keep the momentum going — even 100 square feet of rainforest at a time.

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