SPAR – planting native fruit trees to reduce carbon footprint

SPAR has organised and evaluated its first carbon awareness event. The company will offset the carbon footprint of its partner event of the Budapest Wine Festival by planting 392 autochthonous fruit trees.

“Our world is rather fragile, so we must take all reasonable efforts to protect it as much as we can. For many years, SPAR Hungary has been consciously striving to ensure that the operation of its stores, as well as the production and distribution of its products and the organisation of its events are all guided by this principle. That is why at this year’s Budapest Wine Festival, SPAR’s partner event has been planned with the smallest possible carbon footprint. We voluntarily compensate for the emissions generated by organisation, energy consumption, travel of guests and meals by planting native fruit trees,” summarised Márk Maczelka, head of communications at SPAR Hungary.

SPAR’s partner, the GreenDependent Institute, accurately calculated the carbon footprint of the event based on the number of participants, the duration of the event, the number of travels to and from the event, the food, drinks, service, printed materials, the amount of paper used in organisation, and the energy used at the event (for lighting and sound). Thus, the carbon footprint of the event was 8.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide emitted, mostly from catering (more than 60%), and 38% from travel. Three quarters of the 440 participants travelled to the event from Budapest, and how they travelled (by car, public transport, bicycle, on foot, etc.) was also assessed.

Already in the organisation phase of the event, SPAR Hungary made participants aware of how to be carbon-conscious. For example, by trying to avoid generating food waste by putting only the necessary portion on their plate and using public transport to get to the venue, or by sharing the use of cars. The company also sought to reduce environmental impact by sourcing ingredients for the food served at the event from local producers to support shorter supply chains, and by also sourcing beverages from domestic partners. Dishes were prepared on site, eliminating the need to transport and package food separately, and reusable cutlery and glasses avoided the build-up of additional waste. Waste was collected selectively, untouched food was distributed to those in need with the help of the Hungarian Food Bank Association, and the remaining waste was transported and processed by Biofilter.

The 8.5 tonnes of CO2 emissions from the event, calculated by the GreenDependent Institute, were voluntarily offset by the Hungarian retail chain by planting native fruit trees. According to calculations of the experts this would require 392 tree seedlings over five years, which the green organisation distributed to the gardens of educational and welfare institutions in cooperation with SPAR Hungary. By offsetting the carbon footprint of the event this way, and by planting indigenous trees from the “Fairy Garden” (Tündérkert) orchard in Pórszombat, a gene conservation site in the Zala County, the company has contributed to the conservation of biodiversity and local varieties.