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Drinking orange juice? Better buy some carbon offsets

orangesWho even thinks about the carbon footprint of a carton of orange juice? PepsiCo does, apparently, and the footprint is a surprisingly large one.

The New York Times reports this week that PepsiCo, in the course of trying to assess its products’ impact on global warming, found that a half-gallon carton of orange juice (the company owns the Tropicana brand) comes with a carbon dioxide impact of 3.75 pounds (1.7 kilograms).

If that seems astoundingly hefty, blame it on the agricultural practices used to grow oranges. Orange trees love nitrogen, and that means lots of artificial fertiliser, which is not only a source of greenhouse gas emissions on the farm but requires vast amounts of natural gas to produce.

PepsiCo says it plans to post the OJ carbon footprint on its Tropicana Website. It’s not yet certain, though, whether the company will also include the figure on the actual product.

PepsiCo says it was the “first major food brand in the world to display a carbon footprint/reduction logo” on one of its products (Walkers Crisps). The corporation has also begun to  include sustainability considerations in capital expenditure decisions, set a company-wide goal to cut water consumption by 20 percent by 2015 and purchases carbon offsets for all the electricity consumed by its US facilities.

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