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UK government supports SA carbon study

The UK government is to help fund research into the carbon footprint of the South African wine and fruit industry.

Trade and development minister Gareth Thomas challenged the idea that exported products from the developing world have a bigger environmental cost and said, ‘Food miles created are only one part of the equation – this study will look at the whole cycle of production, which is the only fair way to go.’

He added, ‘Our research has shown nearly three-quarters of the UK public want to use their weekly shop to reduce poverty in the developing world. But they don’t want to spend over the odds, especially with the global economic situation, and they’re – quite rightly – concerned about climate change.’

The £200,000 research scheme, which is to be funded jointly by the UK’s Department for International Development and the Fruit and Wine Industry in South Africa, will not only measure the carbon footprint of the industry but also establish how it compares to international competitors.

Gareth said, ‘This research will enable the industry to understand the carbon “cost” they pose to the environment. This is crucial to maintaining South Africa’s competitive position in global fruit and wine exports markets in order to continue to employ local people.’