Monday, 28 Nov 2022

Fix the faults: Coles criticised for using carbon credits from controversial project

Fix the faults: Coles criticised for using carbon credits from controversial project


Fix the faults: Coles criticised for using carbon credits from controversial project

A farmer who was assured by Coles that it would look for better carbon offsets for its "carbon-neutral" beef has described the supermarket's continued use of credits from the Queensland Armoobilla regeneration project as "outrageous", claiming the project is a "greenwash".

When carbon-neutral sheep and cattle farmer Mark Wootton called on companies to ensure the integrity of farm offsets used for carbon-neutral products back in April, Coles staff had assured him that the supermarket would "look for a better alternative" once their contract with Armoobilla finished in July.

"I had sympathy for Coles at first. They went to the umpire and the umpire said it was OK and then they backed it," said Wootton, who farms north of Hamilton in western Victoria but does not supply Coles.

"They need to take their own due diligence. They've had enough time to do it now."

Criticism of the Coles brand for its use of carbon credits from the Armoobilla reforestation site was widespread, considering that industry experts - including the former head of the emissions reduction assurance committee, Andrew Macintosh - claimed the site's total vegetation had decreased.

Macintosh's analysis found a 5,383ha decline in woodland coverage between 2015-2021. Moreover, the overall trend in vegetation coverage on the site was found to be highly correlated to that of the surrounding LGA of Quilpie.

"For lands to be eligible for inclusion in HIR [human induced regeneration] projects, it must be reasonable to expect that the project activities are necessary for the area to regenerate," Macintosh told the Guardian.

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