Taking good care of the planet

Transporting cashews from their origin to where they are consumed leaves a carbon footprint. However, when we process locally this impact can be reduced significantly!

Travelling the world

90% of African cashew (close to 60% of the world production) travels all the way to Asia to be shelled, peeled and packed. Only then they travel back to be consumed by you (red line).

But, what if we process the raw cashew nut locally and ship it straight to the customer (green line)?

Reducing our carbon footprint

Nuts2 aims to maximise the amount of cashew processed in Africa, first and foremost to provide jobs and economic growth, but in the process we save an awful lot of CO2. 90% to be precise. That is 9.000 kgs of CO2 saved per container shipped.

CO2 emission in the cashew supply chain

CO2 emissions from most plant based products are as much as 10-50 times lower than most animal based products.

And nuts are all the way at the bottom of the chart, as nut trees help absorb CO2 and are even reducing CO2 levels in the atmosphere.

Source: OurWorldInData

Is eating cashews bad for global water availability?

The water foot print of food

Global water availability is a growing concern. Scientific research is growing our awareness of the increasing water scarcity. Water is used in consumption, in industrial production processes, but also in farming. Cattle for instance uses water for consumption. All this water is not available for nature. The use of water for consumption/production purposes is referred to as our Water FootPrint.

New, healthy diets, including nuts, use too much water?

Davy Vanham describes: The EAT-Lancet universal healthy reference diet recommends an increase in the consumption of healthy foods, among which treenuts and groundnuts. Both are, however, water-intensive products, with a large water footprint (WF) per unit of mass and protein and already today contribute to blue* water stress in different parts of the world. Davy Vanham, 2020

* Blue water? Green water?

Rain (precipitation) is the single source of fresh water on earth. It takes the form of blue water or green water:

Dr Joep Schyns explains this using a spunge in a bowl: water is poured on top of the spunge (resembles the rain). Part of it is trickling through and ending at the bottom of the bowl. Partly the water is held by the spunge; this water resides in the top part of the spunge as moisture. The water ending up at the bottom of the bowl is referred to as blue water. The water held up as moisture in the spunge, is referred to as green water.

Dr Joep Schyns explains:

“Blue water is generally described as surface and ground water, supplied to farmland through irrigation for example. Green water is generally described as rainwater stored in the soil. It is consumed through evaporation.” Schyns, 2018

Who cares about green water?

Agricultural water consumption is dominated by ‘green water’ (soil moisture directly returning to the atmosphere as evaporation) as opposed to ‘blue water’ (surface- and groundwater). Though, research and debate on freshwater scarcity always focus on blue water, because there is a clearly expressed ‘demand’ and blue water can be ‘supplied’. Since there is also an implicit demand for green water, which sustains agriculture and forestry, and its availability is limited, green water is scarce as well. Schyns, 2018

Crop production, grazing lands, forestry and terrestrial ecosystems are all sustained by green water. The implicit distribution or explicit allocation of limited green water resources over competitive demands determines which economic and environmental goods and services will be produced and may affect food security and nature conservation. Schyns, 2018

Cashews using excessive green water?

Cashew in (West) Africa is mainly consuming green water. Green water footprint by definition is the water that is taken up for human purposes as opposed to nature purposes. Since cashew trees are considered farmland, not nature, it has a green water footprint. The positive role of cashew trees in nature, it’s biodiversity, it’s flora and fauna is not considered in calculating it’s green water footprint, because it is hard to quantify. We are looking forward to studies revealing the positive impact of regenerative farming.