Is Eating Kiwis Ethical & Sustainable? Here Are the Facts
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Hey fellow impactful ninja ? You may have noticed that Impactful Ninja is all about providing helpful information to make a positive impact on the world and society. And that we love to link back to where we found all the information for each of our posts. Most of these links are informational-based for you to check out their primary sources with one click. But some of these links are so-called "affiliate links" to products that we recommend. First and foremost, because we believe that they add value to you. For example, when we wrote a post about the environmental impact of long showers, we came across an EPA recommendation to use WaterSense showerheads. So we linked to where you can find them. Or, for many of our posts, we also link to our favorite books on that topic so that you can get a much more holistic overview than one single blog post could provide. And when there is an affiliate program for these products, we sign up for it. For example, as Amazon Associates, we earn from qualifying purchases. First, and most importantly, we still only recommend products that we believe add value for you. When you buy something through one of our affiliate links, we may earn a small commission - but at no additional costs to you. And when you buy something through a link that is not an affiliate link, we won’t receive any commission but we’ll still be happy to have helped you. When we find products that we believe add value to you and the seller has an affiliate program, we sign up for it. When you buy something through one of our affiliate links, we may earn a small commission (at no extra costs to you). And at this point in time, all money is reinvested in sharing the most helpful content with you. This includes all operating costs for running this site and the content creation itself. You may have noticed by the way Impactful Ninja is operated that money is not the driving factor behind it. It is a passion project of mine and I love to share helpful information with you to make a positive impact on the world and society. However, it's a project in that I invest a lot of time and also quite some money. Eventually, my dream is to one day turn this passion project into my full-time job and provide even more helpful information. But that's still a long time to go. Stay impactful,
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Hey fellow impactful ninja ?
You may have noticed that Impactful Ninja is all about providing helpful information to make a positive impact on the world and society. And that we love to link back to where we found all the information for each of our posts.
Most of these links are informational-based for you to check out their primary sources with one click.
But some of these links are so-called "affiliate links" to products that we recommend.
First and foremost, because we believe that they add value to you. For example, when we wrote a post about the environmental impact of long showers, we came across an EPA recommendation to use WaterSense showerheads. So we linked to where you can find them. Or, for many of our posts, we also link to our favorite books on that topic so that you can get a much more holistic overview than one single blog post could provide.
And when there is an affiliate program for these products, we sign up for it. For example, as Amazon Associates, we earn from qualifying purchases.
First, and most importantly, we still only recommend products that we believe add value for you.
When you buy something through one of our affiliate links, we may earn a small commission - but at no additional costs to you.
And when you buy something through a link that is not an affiliate link, we won’t receive any commission but we’ll still be happy to have helped you.
When we find products that we believe add value to you and the seller has an affiliate program, we sign up for it.
When you buy something through one of our affiliate links, we may earn a small commission (at no extra costs to you).
And at this point in time, all money is reinvested in sharing the most helpful content with you. This includes all operating costs for running this site and the content creation itself.
You may have noticed by the way Impactful Ninja is operated that money is not the driving factor behind it. It is a passion project of mine and I love to share helpful information with you to make a positive impact on the world and society. However, it's a project in that I invest a lot of time and also quite some money.
Eventually, my dream is to one day turn this passion project into my full-time job and provide even more helpful information. But that's still a long time to go.
Kiwis are a delicious tropical fruit. In popular culture, they are most associated with the nation of New Zealand and their birds of the same name. They are a lucrative industry too, with the global kiwi market worth almost $7 billion as of 2019. Moreover, they pack in a significant amount of fiber and vitamin C. But there can also be some significantly unsustainable and unethical aspects of kiwi production. So we had to ask: Is eating kiwis ethical and sustainable?
Eating kiwis is somewhat unethical. The Italian kiwi industry has been linked to human trafficking, worker exploitation, and endangerment. However, New Zealand kiwi workers have, on average, decent wages.
Eating kiwis is fairly sustainable. They have low water requirements, pesticide use, and packaging. However, they grow in harmful monocultures. Furthermore, most US-consumed kiwis come from New Zealand so they have to travel long distances, and they generate significant organic waste.
In this article, we will assess both the ethical and sustainability practices of the kiwi industry. Through these two lenses, you will be able to gain in-depth knowledge of the overall impacts of the kiwis that you eat!
Here’s How We Assessed the Ethics & Sustainability of Kiwis
The Sustainability Assessment of Food and Agriculture Systems (SAFA) is one of the ways we measure the externalities of our actions, like the consumption of kiwis. It is a holistic assessment based on the potential impact of food and agriculture operations on the environment and people. Those impacts are changes in our environment that can have adverse effects on the air, land, water, fish, and wildlife or the inhabitants of the ecosystem.
“Ethical: The discipline concerned with what is morally good and bad and morally right and wrong”Encyclopedia Britannica
Ethics and sustainability are closely interconnected concepts that share a common objective: the well-being and preservation of our planet, including all its life and future generations.
“Sustainable: The ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level | Avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance”Oxford Dictionary
Basically, all goods and services you buy—including kiwis—leave an impact on people, animals, and our environment. And when it comes to food in general—and kiwis in specific—the following are key factors for their ethics and sustainability:
- Social and economic conditions: The ethics of food crucially depends on the social and economic conditions of the farmers who grow them. Especially on fair labor practices, including fair wages and safe working conditions.
- Seasonality: Eating seasonally is a lever of sustainability. The two key reasons are that seasonal food is more likely grown in their “natural growing season” without using greenhouses, and also more likely to be grown locally.
- Land requirements: Large parts of the world that were once covered by forests and wildlands are now used for agriculture. 10 million hectares of forest are destroyed annually and 50% of the world’s habitable land is now used for agriculture. This loss of natural habitat has been the main driver for reducing the world’s biodiversity.
- Water footprint: 70% of global freshwater is now used for agricultural purposes. By assessing the water footprint of a particular food, we can determine how our limited freshwater resources are being consumed and polluted.
- Pesticide and fertilizer usage: Pesticides and fertilizers provide a range of agricultural benefits. However, numerous studies link pesticides and fertilizers to serious effects on human health, along with disruptions to vital ecosystems and the spread of aquatic dead zones.
- Carbon footprint: The carbon footprint is one of the ways we measure the effects of our human-induced global climate change. Today, food production accounts for over a quarter (26%) of global greenhouse gas emissions.
- Waste generation: Food and its packaging account for almost 45% of the materials landfilled in the US alone. And packaging sent to landfills, especially when made from plastics, does not degrade quickly or, in some cases, at all.
To understand the overall environmental impact of kiwis, we must assess each of their key factors. This Sustainability Assessment of Food and Agriculture Systems (SAFA) is a tool developed for assessing the impact of food and agriculture operations on the environment and people. And this tool helps us to evaluate whether eating kiwis is ethical & sustainable.
Here’s How Ethical & Sustainable Eating Kiwis Is
The overall ethics & sustainability of kiwis is fairly good. This is because they don’t require too many resources to produce, such as water and pesticides, and the industry has high pay rates in New Zealand. However, they still produce significant organic waste, have been linked to human trafficking, and grow in monocultures.
The main positive qualities of kiwi production are that they don’t require significant irrigation, have higher compensation rates than other fruit industries, and don’t use a lot of packaging. However, there are still many aspects of their production that are very unethical and unsustainable.
So, let’s have a look at the ethics & sustainability impact of each key factor of kiwis!
|Key Assessment Factors
|Ethics & Sustainability
|Social and economic conditions of kiwis
|Kiwis’ social and economic conditions can be very bad. In New Zealand, kiwi pickers make generally high wages, whereas in Italy, they reportedly experience very abusive conditions.
|Seasonality of kiwis
|Kiwis’ seasonality is during the winter in the US, and in the summer in New Zealand, meaning they are somewhat more sustainable to buy in the winter.
|Land requirements for kiwis
|Kiwis’ land requirements are average amongst fruits. However, kiwi farming has become more popular in recent years which has caused damaging habitat loss. Furthermore, the use of monocultures negatively affects soil quality and surrounding wildlife.
|Water footprint of kiwis
|Kiwis are fairly sustainable in terms of their water footprint. This is because they have a low water requirement of 35 inches of water per year which is covered by natural rainfall in New Zealand.
|Agrochemical usage for kiwis
|Kiwis pesticide usage is low and their fertilizer usage is minimally harmful. This means that they are reasonably sustainable at this stage.
|Carbon footprint of kiwis
|The carbon footprint of kiwis is high at 0.56kg (1.24lb) of CO2e per pound of kiwis. This is mainly because they are transported from New Zealand in refrigerated trucks, have long growth durations, use mechanized processing, and suffer from low composting rates.
|Waste generation of kiwis
|Kiwis are delicate so they use a wide variety of packaging materials to protect them from damage. This often ends up in landfill. They also have high organic waste generation.
These are the overall summaries, but there is a lot more to the story. In the next few sections, we will dive deeper into each stage to illustrate to you all the important aspects of kiwis’ ethics & sustainability.
How Ethical & Sustainable Are the Social and Economic Conditions for Kiwis
Kiwis’ social and economic conditions can be very bad. In New Zealand, kiwi pickers make generally high wages, whereas in Italy, they reportedly experience very abusive conditions.
Everything we consume was made or harvested by somebody. In past centuries, this was often someone who lived in your community and who you might have even known personally. But through the rise of globalized distribution systems, we have become increasingly alienated from the people who make our food. This leaves a lot of room for exploitation and abuse, both of which are rampant in the food industry. Here, we will look at how the kiwi industry fares in relation to these ethical questions.
How ethical & sustainable are the social and economic conditions of growing kiwis?
- Are farmers paid fair wages to grow kiwis: Kiwi pickers in New Zealand are paid a very high rate of $27–29 NZD ($16–18 USD) per hour. However, those who work in packing houses make significantly less money, only around $13 USD per hour. Conflicting reports also indicate that New Zealand kiwi pickers are being paid a low rate. Overall, though, these are still on the high end of wages for fruit workers.
- How safe are the working conditions to grow kiwis: There have been allegations of abusive conditions in Italian kiwi farms, especially against Indian workers. The reports allege that the workers experienced abuse, death threats, and wage theft. This means that conditions, especially in Italian kiwi farms, can be very bad.
- Are there reports of child or forced labor to grow kiwis: There are no major reports of child labor within the kiwi industry. There are, however, reports of human trafficking and near-slavery conditions within the Italian kiwi industry, with workers reportedly being lured from India on false pretenses.
- What is the wider economic impact on the communities that grow kiwis: Many Indian migrant workers in Italy’s kiwi industry are led away from their country, communities, and families, only to face extremely harsh conditions. Because of being so far from home, and many undocumented, they are more susceptible to abuse and less likely or able to leave their situation.
In short, the ethics of the kiwi industry are very dependent on where they are grown. In general, New Zealand kiwis are more ethical than Italian ones.
How Ethical & Sustainable Are the Seasonality for Kiwis
Kiwis’ seasonality is during the winter in the US, and in the summer in New Zealand, meaning they are somewhat more sustainable to buy in the winter.
Every fruit has a natural season in which they grow, usually lasting a couple of months, which can range depending on the region. However, international demand for every kind of fruit is year-round. This demand is often met by importing fruits from tropical places which can grow year-round, or by growing them in greenhouses. Both of these methods use more resources and are thus less sustainable than conventional farming. Here, we will look at how the kiwi industry accommodates year-round demand.
How ethical & sustainable is it to grow kiwis in-season vs out-of-season?
- When is the natural season for growing and harvesting kiwis: Kiwis are in season in California between October and May. This means that you will be more likely to find a domestically-grown kiwi during these months.
- How are kiwis naturally grown in-season: Kiwis grow on vines. In-season, they can be grown in California, but are also still widely imported from New Zealand during this time. Therefore, just because kiwis are in-season in the US doesn’t mean they aren’t imported.
- How are kiwis grown out-of-season: Out of season, during the summer months, kiwis are heavily imported from New Zealand, where they are in season. This means that buying kiwis in the summer requires more transportation than buying them in the winter.
In short, though kiwis are grown in the US in the winter, they are still imported from New Zealand quite a bit, meaning they are fairly unsustainable year-round, but more unsustainable during the summer.
How Ethical & Sustainable Are the Land Requirements for Kiwis
Kiwis’ land requirements are average amongst fruits. However, kiwi farming has become more popular in recent years which has caused damaging habitat loss. Furthermore, the use of monocultures negatively affects soil quality and surrounding wildlife.
The growth stage has a major impact on fruits’ sustainability. The amount of land used, especially in relation to its expansion, the method with which they are grown, and their effect on surrounding land and wildlife are all important factors. In this section, we will look at the ways in which kiwis’ land usage affects their sustainability.
How ethical & sustainable are the land requirements for growing kiwis?
- What is the land usage of kiwis: Kiwis yield around 25 tons per hectare. This is fairly average amongst fruits, with watermelons yielding around 2–3 tons per hectare and bananas up to 100 tons per hectare.
- Where and how are kiwis grown: Kiwis grow on climbing vines. These vines have carbon sequestering properties which means that they are fairly sustainable. Over 90% of kiwis in the world are grown in New Zealand. However, kiwis are also mainly grown in monocultures. Monocultures are very unsustainable as they reduce biodiversity and can harm soil microbes.
- How does the kiwi industry affect the loss of habitable land: Kiwis take up a considerable amount of space on the island of New Zealand. According to a 2020 report, 15,500 hectares of land were being used for kiwi farming. This has grown over the years, meaning that land clearance is ongoing.
- How does the kiwi industry affect wildlife and biodiversity: Many species in New Zealand are endangered, including sea birds, that can be affected by deforestation and water pollution. One of the threatened species is—ironically—the kiwi bird itself, with deforestation-related habitat loss harming their populations. Kiwi populations are halving every 10 years in unmanaged and heavily farmed areas.
In short, the use of monocultures, as well as longer growth times and average land yields mean that kiwis are moderately unsustainable at this stage.
How Ethical & Sustainable Is the Water Footprint of Kiwis
Kiwis are fairly sustainable in terms of their water footprint. This is because they have a low water requirement of 35 inches of water per year which is covered by natural rainfall in New Zealand.
Water usage is one of the most important factors in a fruit’s sustainability. Practices like irrigation use significant resources and can cause pollution, and as such, factors like the amount of water used, where it is sourced, as well as the way they affect the water sources around them, are all important. Here, we will look at these different angles of kiwis’ water footprint.
How ethical & sustainable is the water footprint of growing kiwis?
- What is the overall water usage of kiwis: Kiwis need about 35 inches of water per year. This is equivalent to around 35 gallons of water per year per plant. This is actually a lower than average water requirement amongst fruits. For example, avocados need around an inch of water a week.
- What is the green water footprint of kiwis: The green water footprint is the amount of water from precipitation stored in the soil and used by plants for growth. Most kiwis consumed in the US are grown in New Zealand. New Zealand gets around 40 inches of rain per year. This means that New Zealand-grown kiwis will get most or all of their water needs from rain.
- What is the blue water footprint of kiwis: The blue water footprint is the amount of water sourced from surface (such as rivers or lakes) or groundwater resources. Kiwis’ 35 inch per year water requirement is typically covered by the 40 inches of rain New Zealand receives per year. Therefore, kiwis don’t require significant irrigation and have a low blue water footprint.
- What is the gray water footprint of kiwis: The gray water footprint is the amount of freshwater required to clean up water pollution to meet certain quality standards. Essentially, it’s the amount of water needed to make polluted water clean enough to be safe and healthy for humans and the environment. Kiwis have very low pesticide use. In fact, they have been included on lists of foods which use the least amount of pesticides. Therefore, less water will be needed to clean up pesticide pollution, lowering their gray water footprint.
- How does the kiwi industry affect freshwater and ocean pollution: Some minor pesticide use might affect kiwis’ groundwater. However, there are still efforts being made to help lower kiwis’ water footprint. Māori farmers in particular have made commitments to grow kiwis with minimal effect on water sources.
In short, the fact that kiwis use minimal irrigation and have low pesticide rates means they are fairly sustainable at this stage.
How Ethical & Sustainable Is the Agrochemical Usage for Kiwis
Kiwis pesticide usage is low and their fertilizer usage is minimally harmful. This means that they are reasonably sustainable at this stage.
Pesticides and fertilizers are agrochemicals that are very unsustainable and damaging to ecosystems. This is because they require resources to create and can easily run off into groundwater and soil systems. Here, we will look at how sustainable kiwis’ pesticide and fertilizer rates really are.
How ethical & sustainable is the agrochemical usage of growing kiwis?
- What is the pesticide usage of kiwis: Kiwis have some of the lowest pesticide rates among foods. In a 2018 study, 65% of kiwis tested had no pesticide residue on their skin. Pesticides do some serious environmental damage, such as harming groundwater and wildlife. Therefore, kiwis are sustainable in terms of their pesticide use.
- What is the fertilizer usage of kiwis: Kiwis are typically fertilized with potassium. Potassium actually has very minimal negative environmental effects. Therefore, kiwis are fairly sustainable when it comes to fertilizer usage.
- Are there any known issues connected to the agrochemical usage for kiwis: Since kiwis use few pesticides and less harmful fertilizers, there aren’t a large amount of issues associated with them.
In short, kiwis’ minimal use of pesticides, as well as their use of less harmful fertilizers, means that their agrochemical usage is fairly sustainable.
How Ethical & Sustainable Is the Carbon Footprint of Kiwis
The carbon footprint of kiwis is high at 0.56kg (1.24lb) of CO2e per pound of kiwis. This is mainly because they are transported from New Zealand in refrigerated trucks, have long growth durations, use mechanized processing, and suffer from low composting rates.
Carbon footprint is one aspect of the overall sustainability of a fruit. It essentially measures how much carbon or other greenhouse gasses the production of fruits emits into the atmosphere. Emissions from product manufacturing, irrigation, transportation fuel, and landfills all add up to create the overall carbon footprint of a fruit. Let’s see how the carbon footprint of kiwis contributes to their overall sustainability.
How ethical & sustainable is the carbon footprint of kiwis?
- What is the overall carbon footprint of kiwis: The overall carbon footprint of kiwis is 0.56kg (1.24lb) of CO2e per pound of kiwis. This is a very high carbon footprint compared to other fruits, which affects their environmental impact.
- What are the main contributors to the carbon footprint of kiwis: The main factors that contribute to kiwis’ carbon footprint are long growth times, long transportation distances from New Zealand, mechanized processing, refrigeration requirements, and low composting rates.
- Which life-cycle stage of kiwis has the highest carbon footprint: Transportation has the biggest impact on kiwis’ carbon footprint. This is because most are transported from New Zealand using refrigerated shipping containers, which use more fuel than dry goods containers.
In short, the high transportation distances, as well as other factors like mechanized processing and refrigeration all contribute to kiwis’ relatively high carbon footprint.
How Ethical & Sustainable Is the Waste Generation of Kiwis
Kiwis are delicate so they use a wide variety of packaging materials to protect them from damage. This often ends up in landfill. They also have high organic waste generation.
When fruit waste, either in the form of packaging or organic materials, is disposed of, it can cause a lot of problems. Whether it’s damaging wildlife, getting into oceans, emitting methane, or dissolving into microplastics that contaminate groundwater, all these materials have their part to play. The sheer amount of waste we produce is reaching a crisis point and won’t be able to continue much longer. In this section, we will look at how sustainable kiwis’ waste generation is.
How ethical & sustainable is the waste generation of kiwis?
- What is the packaging of kiwis: Kiwis are a very delicate fruit, so they are usually packaged in single layers in cardboard, wooden, or polyethylene trays with plastic inserts. To prevent extensive evaporation which can damage the fruit, they are also typically wrapped in perforated film. All of these packaging materials can be very unsustainable due to the way they are manufactured and disposed of.
- How is the packaging of kiwis disposed of: Plastic packaging is one of the most harmful materials for the environment because it takes a long time to degrade and often ends up in landfill. Cardboard and wood are more environmentally friendly and polyethylene can be recycled to make like-for-like products. However, disposal practices vary between farms, with a lot of these materials still ending up in landfill.
- How are kiwis disposed of: Kiwis have peels that are not typically eaten. These can theoretically be composted, but unfortunately, only around 4% of food is actually composted. This means that the majority of kiwi peels are ending up in landfills. Landfills are unsustainable in many ways, such as producing carbon emissions, creating soil pollution, and damaging wildlife. When food goes into landfills, it can create even more damage through methane, a harmful greenhouse gas.
In short, kiwis use a fair amount of packaging and their peels often end up in landfill too. This has a negative impact on local wildlife, soil quality, and creates harmful methane gas.
What Have Been Historical Ethics & Sustainability Issues Connected to the Kiwi Industry
Kiwis have partaken in some farming practices that have harmed workers and the environment a lot over the years. Some of the damages include worker endangerment, soil and groundwater pollution, and deforestation leading to habitat loss.
All fruits have had a complex road toward global distribution. They originate in one part of the world and often travel far to end up in your local supermarket. From farm to table, some of our favorite fruits have racked up some serious damage along the way. Whether it’s exploiting labor, deforestation to meet demand, water pollution, or disruption of wildlife, most fruits have left a path of destruction. Let’s see how kiwis have fared throughout history.
What have been the key ethical & sustainable issues of the kiwi industry?
- Has labor been exploited because of kiwis production: In 2018, kiwi growers in New Zealand filed a lawsuit against the crown for allegedly allowing a disease to come into the country. Cases like these show that the safety of kiwi farmers has been put at risk in the past.
- How much land has been lost because of kiwi production: Kiwi production is a big business in New Zealand. However, the fruit actually originated in China. China has rapidly increased kiwi production since 1980. The 1990s saw high amounts of land being converted into kiwi farms which has significantly impacted the native landscape. In 2020, there were estimated to be 5,400 hectares of unauthorized kiwi planting across China, an increase of 2,900 hectares since 2019.
- Which wildlife species have been negatively impacted or displaced because of kiwi production: China has a high amount of endangered species, including tigers, asian elephants, camels, and the Chinese alligator. This is largely due to habitat loss caused by human activity. While kiwi farming has likely been a small component of this phenomenon, it is still part of the whole. In New Zealand, habitat loss has caused the native kiwi bird to be pushed into farmland, where they are often attacked by dogs.
- Have water sources and soil been contaminated because of kiwi production: China’s kiwi farms use more nitrogen fertilizer, as well as flooding irrigation, which has greatly impacted the soil quality as well as groundwater balance.
In short, kiwi production has had some serious impacts on workers and the environment, from groundwater damage to worker endangerment to wildlife habitat loss.
How Can You Reduce Your Environmental Impact and Offset Your Personal Carbon Footprint
There are a few things you can do to make your kiwi consumption more ethical and sustainable, while still enjoying them. You can also consider offsetting your personal and kiwi-related carbon emissions, which work to remove carbon emissions elsewhere that are then attributed to you. Here, we will walk you through how to accomplish both of these things.
How Can You Shop for Kiwis More Ethically & Sustainably
In this section, we give you a short list of ways you can consume kiwis in a more sustainable way. This list is designed to target the most unsustainable parts of kiwis’ life-cycle:
- Buy in-season kiwis: Imported kiwis have to come a long way from New Zealand to reach the US. Therefore, if you buy kiwis when they are in season in the US, they will be more likely to be domestic, and thus more sustainable.
- Compost your kiwi peels: The low composting rates of kiwis means that their peels almost always end up in landfills. Therefore, one of the best ways you can make your kiwis more sustainable is by making the effort to compost the peels. If your city doesn’t provide composting services, then you can consider making your own compost.
- Use the whole kiwi: Even better than composting is actually making use of the entire kiwi. There are some great uses for kiwi peels, but one of the best ways to use them is to make your own sweets!
Following some of these methods can really help you to make your kiwi-eating more sustainable. None of these will completely eradicate the negative impacts, since there are always effects that may be outside of your control. But some reduction is always better than nothing!
Which Organizations Can You Support to Help Promote Ethics & Sustainability
While kiwi production engages in some very unsustainable practices, there are also some organizations that help you change the parts of these processes that would otherwise be outside of your control. These organizations are working hard to prevent and reverse damage to the environment caused by industries like kiwi agriculture, towards a more sustainable future.
In the table below are some of the best charities that work in the areas where kiwi production are very unsustainable—and beyond:
Though it is helpful to boost the sustainability of your personal kiwi consumption, supporting these organizations takes your positive impact a step further. You will be reaching far beyond your own consumption impacts and helping to build a better world for everyone!
How Can You Offset Your Personal Carbon Footprint
The carbon footprint is a key part of how sustainable we live. And it is one of the ways we measure the effects of our human-induced global climate change. Yes, even from eating kiwis!
“Carbon footprint: the amount of greenhouse gasses and specifically carbon dioxide emitted by something (such as a person’s activities or a product’s manufacture and transport) during a given period”Merriam Webster
Basically, it is the amount of carbon emitted by you as an individual or an organization providing you with goods and services – including kiwis:
- This includes GHG emissions from producing the products that we use and foods that we eat (e.g., power plants, factories or farms, and landfills)
- GHG emissions from fuel that we burn directly or indirectly (e.g., logistics and transportation, cooling or heating facilities),
- as well as the GHG emissions attributed to how we consume these products and foods.
Carbon offsets are reductions in carbon emissions that are used to compensate for carbon emissions occurring elsewhere – for example for the carbon emissions that are associated with kiwis. They are measured in tons of CO2 equivalents and are bought and sold through international brokers, online retailers, and trading platforms on what is known as the global carbon offset market.
“Carbon Offset: a way for a company or person to reduce the level of carbon dioxide for which they are responsible by paying money to a company that works to reduce the total amount produced in the world, for example by planting trees”Oxford Dictionary
In terms of kiwis – and indeed all food types – there will always be a carbon footprint, because of the resources it takes to get your food from farms to the place where you’ll eventually eat them. And while there are ways to reduce your carbon footprint when shopping for kiwis, carbon offsets would be a way to reduce your CO2e emissions all the way down to net zero (or even to become climate positive).
However, when you purchase carbon offsets, it’s important that they actually make a difference in offsetting (aka reducing) total carbon emissions. To achieve that, the following are key criteria:
- Carbon offset projects have to be effective (different projects have different effectiveness rates)
- Carbon offset projects have to be additional
- Carbon offset projects have to be permanent
- The claims from carbon offset projects have to be verifiable
To find the best carbon offsets for you personally, check out our full guide on the best carbon offsets for individuals, where you’ll also learn more about how these carbon offset projects work, what their respective offsetting costs are, and what your best way would be to offset your own carbon emissions.
Kiwis are a staple of fruit salads and smoothies alike, but all that comes at some cost to people and the environment. Though they are sustainable in a lot of ways, such as not requiring a lot of water to grow and using less harmful fertilizers than other fruits, they still have unsustainable qualities. They also have many unethical qualities, such as human trafficking in Italy and worker endangerment in New Zealand. However, by following some reduction methods, you can help your kiwis to have a significantly more positive impact!
- GOV.NZ: Kiwi: New Zealand Native Land Birds
- Global Trade Mag: The Global Kiwi Fruit Market
- WebMD: Health Benefits of Kiwis
- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations: SAFA (Sustainability Assessment of Food and Agriculture systems) Guidelines
- Food Ethics Council: What is food ethics?
- The Fair Labor Association: Agriculture Standards
- MDPI Sustainability: Eating in Season—A Lever of Sustainability? An Interview Study on the Social Perception of Seasonal Consumption
- MDPI Foods: The Role of Local Seasonal Foods in Enhancing Sustainable Food Consumption: A Systematic Literature Review
- UN Environment Programme: Environmental Impact Assessment and Strategic Environmental Assessment: Towards an Integrated Approach
- Our World in Data: The environmental impacts of food and agriculture
- Our World in Data: Global land use for food production
- World Health Organization: Preventing disease through healthy environments: a global assessment of the burden of disease from environmental risks
- ScienceDirect (Biological Conservation): Worldwide decline of the entomofauna: A review of its drivers
- EPA: The Sources and Solutions: Agriculture
- EPA: Reducing Food Waste and Packaging
- FoodPrint: The Environmental Impact of Food Packaging
- NHB: Kiwi
- Impactful Ninja: What is the Carbon Footprint of Kiwis
- Stuff: Kiwifruit Workers Now Get More Than $27 An Hour
- 1 News: Kiwi Fruit Pickers Have a Simple Message
- Al Jazeera: Bitter Taste of Kiwis
- The Wire: Italy’s Kiwi Farms
- Seattle Times: It’s Kiwi Season
- California Grown: How Are Kiwis Grown
- Ohio Online: Kiwifruit and Hardy Kiwi
- Zespri: When is Kiwifruit Season
- Impactful Ninja: What is the Carbon Footprint of Watermelons
- Impactful Ninja: What is the Carbon Footprint of Bananas
- RHS: How to Grow Kiwi Fruit
- Fruit Net: Kiwifruit Vines Act as Carbon Sink
- OhioLine: Kiwifruit and Hardy Kiwi
- Stuff: Kiwifruit a Victim of Monoculture Farming
- EOS: Monoculture Farming Explained
- Statistica: New Zealand Horticultural Land Area of Kiwifruit
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- GOV.BC: Updating the Carbon Footprint for Selected New Zealand Agricultural Products
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- EPA: Reducing the Impact of Wasted Food
- TIS: Kiwifruit
- Sea Routes: Decarbonizing Ocean Container Transport
- SL Recycling: What Are the Negative Effects of Landfill
- GOV.BC: Waste Management
- Stuff: Kiwifruit Growers Win Partial Victory
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- Earth.org: 10 of the Most Endangered Species in China
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- Grannys Tips: Reuse Kiwi Peels By Making Delicious Sweets
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- Our World in Data: Greenhouse Gas Emissions per 1,000 kilocalories
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