Mango is a seasonal fruit

Those who care about the environment eat seasonally. Vegetables and fruits harvested when they are ripe in the open air. But when does it happen and what role does transport play? If you look closely, you will come across unexpected results.

Our carbon footprint grows with every kilometer we travel, with every lamp we switch on, with every bite we take. It is important to reduce this footprint. When it comes to kilometers or electricity, it quickly becomes clear to us what is important. It gets more difficult with nutrition. The cultivation method, processing or transport are alternately in the foreground of the discussion. And the supermarkets offer everything: regional and well-traveled products, organic or not, shipped or flown. Apparently the same products are next to each other. In terms of their carbon footprint, however, they differ by more than a factor of 10.

Avocado better than asparagus

Let's take asparagus. If you come to us by plane from Peru, one kilo of asparagus produces 27 kg of CO2 equivalents *. Almost twice as much as a kilo of beef. If the same asparagus come by ship, it is 2.5 kg of CO2. That is better than the first European asparagus in March. Because they grow in a heated field and come to 5 kg of CO2! Only at the end of April are asparagus from the field available at 1.5 kg CO2 per kilo. Organic avocados, which also come by ship from Peru, generate 1.4 kg of CO2 per kilo.

There are similar examples with fruits. Strawberries in early April, regardless of whether they come from Thurgau or Valais, have over 4 kg of CO2 per kilo of fruit - even more than those from Morocco in February (3.4 kg of CO2). Only the organic strawberries harvested from the end of May achieve a good footprint of 0.8 kg of CO2. However: Fresh mangoes from Burkina Faso would also outdo these strawberries: They only add 0.7 kg of CO2 per kilo of fruit.

Transport surprisingly unimportant for the carbon footprint

What is ecologically sensible and what is not does not always meet our expectations. In contrast to political questions, the question of the CO2 footprint has to be answered scientifically. We have therefore put our products under the microscope with experts. The CO2 figures above are from the first investigation with them. The results may differ from other studies, but the main statements are clear: Avoidance of air transport and outdoor cultivation are decisive.

Transport in general, on the other hand, is surprisingly unimportant for the CO2 balance. This is an opportunity for smallholder families and consumers around the world, because fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables reduce our carbon footprint compared to animal, processed or not grown products in any case and at any time of the year! We are very pleased to present our seasonal calendar to you.

The gebana season calendar shows you when which gebana products are in season and when they arrive. It should be your advisor if you crave oranges or mangoes or if you want to know when it's time for outdoor asparagus.

Importing fruits and vegetables from distant countries in summer and autumn is unreasonable. After all, it is harvest time for us and the range on the markets is huge. That is why there is a gap in our seasonal calendar between July and October. During these months, with the exception of coconuts, we only receive specialties from Europe.

Our offer then grows slowly in late autumn and winter. We import figs and dates fresh from the harvest. Then the citrus harvest in Greece begins. These are freshly harvested all winter long and are still model students in terms of their carbon footprint. With 0.5 kg of CO2 *, our oranges are almost as good as organic apples from Switzerland (0.4 kg of CO2 * in January).

Talk about luxury

Towards the end of winter, all through spring and until early summer, it becomes difficult for us Swiss women. Everyone is eagerly waiting for the first regional fruits. But the offers of “seasonal” fruit that will be tempting in supermarkets from the end of February are not sustainable. At this point in time, the carbon footprint of tropical fruits transported by ship is better! For example with our mangoes or avocados.

When we talk about CO2 we have to mention our luxury product: the pineapple. It is the only product that we fly and its CO2 footprint is correspondingly high: 9.9 kg CO2 per kilo of pineapple. We compensate fivefold for the CO2 resulting from the sale of pineapples.

Our seasonal calendar shows you when which gebana products are in season. It should help you organize your orders. As far as sustainability is concerned, we will continue to develop the calendar so that we can offer the right mix of European and worldwide products in every season.

* Equivalents, because in addition to CO2, methane, nitrous oxide and other greenhouse gases are converted to the effect of CO2.

Addendum from November 19, 2019 due to a customer request

We have already highlighted the influence of packaging in the past in the article “Are plastic packaging an environmental sin”. Martina Wyrsch from Tiefgrün GmbH showed in her guest contribution that animal products in particular pose a problem when looking at the ecological balance. The packaging accounts for only 1 percent of the environmental impact of our diet.

At first glance, the pick-up station and store appear greener than an order that is placed online and then delivered to you. However, if we look closely at every single step in the supply chain, things don't look as good for the pick-up station and store.

On-line

When it comes to online trading, it all starts with you and your PC. This consumes electricity to get into the Internet. Your order triggers a process that begins in the retailer's warehouse. A truck then drives off with your and many, many orders from other customers. In a distribution center, your order arrives in a smaller vehicle that drives to your place of residence and supplies various other households along the way.

Offline

You order with the pick-up option or buy directly in the store. In both cases, the goods must also be transported from a large warehouse to your pick-up station or to the store. The station or shop consumes more electricity than a pure warehouse. In winter they are heated more, in summer they may even be cooled; additional end devices consume more electricity than the warehouse infrastructure. They travel by bike, by public transport or, in the worst case, by car to the station or shop to pick up their goods.

A rough idea of ​​what this means in terms of CO2 emissions is given by a graphic from the Öko-Institut in Germany. Unfortunately, the graphic can only be found in the institute's study (page 15). The research institution, organized as an association, has been dealing with strategies for sustainable development since the 1970s. The article "How harmful is online trade to the climate?" Is also interesting. from May 2019, which also takes up the graphic.

Basically, online trading gets better when we send less back, offline trading gets better when shops invest in energy efficiency and we as consumers shop on foot or by bike.