IFFCO Launches Region’s First Carbon-NeutralOlive Oil Product by Rahma
IFFCO, the international group based in the United Arab Emirates, has announced a significant move in the organization’s quest to address climate change and reduce carbon emissions, taking a bold step in revolutionizing the olive oil production process. By implementing sustainable practices, IFFCO has developed the first range of carbon-neutral olive oil products, produced in the region, under its popular Rahma brand that not only preserves their rich flavours but also minimizes their environmental impact.
As part of efforts to improve its environmental track record, Rahma defined its carbon footprint and set its carbon reduction roadmap objectives to be achieved by 2030 in IFFCO’s olive oil value chain. As 2023 has been designated as the UAE’s Year of Sustainability, and with COP 28 being hosted in Dubai, the group has partnered with Climate Impact Partners, a specialist company in carbon market solutions for climate actions, in order to expedite obtaining carbon neutral certification for two of its key product portfolios, Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Rizwan Ahmed, the Executive Director at IFFCO Group, expressed his delight with the rapid progress the company has made on this accomplishment, saying: “Established in 1975, we manufacture and market a well-integrated range of mass-market food products, related derivatives, intermediates and services. As regional experts in the industry since our very beginnings, we have always been conscious of the need and duty to show respect and admiration for nature’s bounty, and it is with immense pride that we are embarking on a journey towards sustainable food systems. With ESG commitments very much to the forefront of our strategy, we have been able to research, develop, acquire certification and launch a carbon-neutral olive oil that aims to help protect our planet and promote sustainable practices within our industry while strengthening our status as a forward-thinking advocate for reducing reliance on fossil fuels and lowering our carbon footprint.”
He added, “Our Rahma farm and manufacturing facility, located in Tunisia, are now proudly producing and distributing carbon neutral Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil to the UAE, KSA, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain, that complement the company’s growth and strategic direction, which is to focus on the six critical pillars of people, customer relations, consumer satisfaction, sustainability, growth and governance, reinforcing the organization’s position as an FMCG industry leader.”
The company has implemented a range of measures that include a holistic approach to reducing the environmental footprint of olive oil value chain, involving improvement to its own practices and working hand-in-hand with olive growers and suppliers to implement good practices and interventions across the food systems.
Rahma acquired its CarbonNeutral® product certificate from Climate Impact Partners by supporting two high-quality projects that will make genuine change possible and help keep global warming below 1.5 degrees. The two projects are: ‘Renewable Energy Portfolio Global’ and ‘Aqua Clara Water Filters, Kenya’, a strategy to invest outside the group’s value chain to compensate for any CO2 left after its own measures. The Kenya water project also has a robust social component, as do other renewable energy projects in India, China and Brazil. The total amount to be offset is 13,226 t CO2e (metric tons of CO2 emissions equivalent). By supporting these projects, IFFCO is not only offsetting its own carbon footprint but also contributing to the overall sustainability of the region.
James White, Senior Sustainability Executive at Climate Impact Partners stated: “We work with leading organisations to deliver action on climate change and create a more sustainable future. Our joined-up approach helps organisations address their environmental impacts through high-quality carbon market solutions that also deliver a positive impact on nature and local communities. As a trusted partner to Rahma, we worked with them to help them understand the broad landscape of options open to them and the significant advantages they bring, developing the best options for their climate action strategy.”
IFFCO’s commitment to sustainability extends beyond the production process. The group also establishes partnerships with suppliers and industry, encouraging them to adopt sustainable practices while promoting biodiversity and protecting the delicate ecosystems surrounding the olive groves.
Mohammed Itani, who leads IFFCO’s Oils and Fats segments in the GCC and Levant as Chief Executive Officer, said: “By launching this carbon-neutral olive oil, we aim to set a new standard in the industry and inspire others to take similar actions. We firmly believe that businesses have a responsibility to protect the environment and promote sustainable practices. Through our efforts, we hope to encourage other companies, including farmers and our suppliers, to join us in the fight against climate change and work towards a more sustainable future. We have even re-designed the packaging to reflect our values using engravings by Steve Noble, a master in his art, to demonstrate how integrity and care for the natural world are incorporated into every aspect of our output, including our marketing. IFFCO is rightfully proud to be introducing Rahma’s carbon-neutral olive oil to the market. By prioritizing sustainability and implementing innovative practices, we are taking a step towards protecting our planet and increasing sustainability within our industry. We remain committed to driving change and inspiring others to follow suit, as we believe that together, we can create a brighter and more sustainable future for generations to come.”
Enrique Merino, Chief Executive Officer, Olive Oil, for IFFCO Iberia, S.L.U, under whose auspices the Tunisian operations fall, added, “The world’s consumers are becoming much more discerning about how they perceive the farm-to-fork journey, and they understand the necessity to be more sustainability-minded in their shopping habits. Through the launch of these carbon-neutral certified new varieties of Rahma Olive Oils, we are easing their burden and facilitating the shift to a more balanced everyday product, without compromising on taste, quality and usability, and demonstrating our commitment to the environment and welfare of the planet.”
IFFCO has recently released its first Environment, Sustainability and Governance (ESG) report, which outlines its commitment to sustainability goals, and is putting sustainable practices in place across its operations and value chains. These include upgrading operations and value chain practices across the group’s portfolio to offer food and services that minimise our emissions footprint, optimize the use of natural resources, and improve the quality of life for communities in which it has operations. Rahma Carbon-Neutral Virgin Olive Oils are another step taken to contribute to adopting sustainable changes to the food system, through an agenda of “Investing in the Future” to help reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions from land use change, enhancing endeavours to work towards zero deforestation in key crops, decreasing waste generation, using packaging with a lower environmental impact, and addressing water scarcity.
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