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Sean McBride
November 19, 2020 | Letters from Napa Valley | Sean McBride

What Does It Mean to Be Carbon Neutral?

We've received a couple of questions from customers about what it means when we say this or that wine is "Carbon Neutral," so we decided to forward along this explanation from our Carbon Neutrality partner www.cooleffect.com,

"The terms ‘carbon neutral’ and ‘carbon neutrality’ have been the terminology used for describing sustainability practices using offsets for the past 20 years. However, times are changing and so are claims that can be made. Scientists are becoming more specific about the requirements associated with those terms, but these requirements are causing unintended consequences in the market. 

"Let’s start with the definitions. Currently, scientists associated with the IPCC have defined the following: 

  • Climate Neutral: A state in which human activities result in no net effect on the climate system (all GHGs + radiative forcing).
  • Net Zero: When carbon emissions (including emissions beyond carbon dioxide) are balanced by anthropogenic removals over a specified period of time (all GHGs).
  • Carbon Neutral or Net Zero CO2: When anthropogenic CO2 emissions are balanced globally by anthropogenic CO2 removal over a specified period of time.
  • Carbon Negative: When a business removes more carbon from the atmosphere than it generates (Forbes).

"Whether these definitions will apply to offsetting in general is still under consideration. This is extremely important because credits that meet the strict scientific definition of ‘removals’ required for ‘carbon neutrality’ or ‘net zero’ are in short supply."

Crosby Roamann wines marked "Carbon Neutral" were produced in a year in which we paid to offset our Carbon footprint 100%. We estimate certain factors like farming CO2 production and the cost of shipping one case of wine cross-country, and add those estimates to specific values we have at the winery, such as total electricity, miles driven, etc., to come up with our Carbon load. We then invest that value in offsetting technologies. To learn more, please visit www.cooleffect.com.


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