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Southern Clams' Forest To Deliver Carbon Neutrality


Southern Clams' Forest To Deliver Carbon Neutrality

Southern Clams has invested in its own forestry venture and in 2011 its production footprint will be carbon neutral to the first point of sale in New Zealand. The company has a strong commitment to being carbon neutral to any point of sale in the world by 2018.

Managing Director of Southern Clams, Roger Belton, believes that his Otago based commercial fishery is on target to become the first New Zealand fishery to achieve carbon neutrality status.

Southern Clams is recognised as a pioneer in environmental responsibility in the clam fishery industry and has carved out niche markets in Europe, North America and Asia and supplies the New Zealand market.

Roger Belton says the company's commitment to carbon neutrality is not only in keeping with its philosophy of environmental responsibility but is in fact essential for the long term economic sustainability of its commercial fishery. "If we are to be competitive in overseas markets we have to be carbon accountable. Our target markets are at the top end where increasingly consumers' choices are being driven by environmental values. The food miles spent by exporting to the other side of the world make our products less marketable."

This year Southern Clams has planted 91 hectares of bio diverse forestry in the Otago region and plans to plant 300 hectares by 2018. The company has planted a range of species with varying growth rates which include Larch, Douglas Fir, some deciduous species, native Beech and Eucalypts. 2011 will be the first year when the trees will have some carbon sequestration value. The company plans to outsource carbon credits to make up for the shortfall in this first year.

As the trees mature, and with more hectares being planted, Southern Clams believes that by 2018 its entire production footprint including all export sales will be carbon neutral without the company having to outsource carbon credits.

Roger Belton says the company's decision to grow its own forest rather than buying carbon credits on the open market is an investment in economic stability. "By owning our own carbon generating mechanism we are insulating the company from the volatility of the carbon credit market. We know how volatile the price of petrol is, carbon will be no different and Southern Clams doesn't want to be exposed to that risk."


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