BUILD A GREEN FACILITY
Respect for and protection of the environment have been an integral part of Appalaches Nature’s values since the company’s very beginnings. As 100% pure maple syrup is a natural product sourced directly from Quebec’s sugar maple trees, it became evident that sustainable development had to be at the very heart of the company’s business decisions. As such, a number of choices were made upstream by the company in order to limit GHG emissions generated by its activities as much as possible.
To this end, Appalaches Nature invested 2 million additional dollars in the construction of its new bottling plant, opting for green technology throughout. The company generates energy through its biomass heating system, a certified carbon neutral energy source that uses wood pellets that are inherently renewable. These pellets, which are sourced from Mont-Valin in the Saguenay region, are Forest Stewardship Council certified, a forestry certification that aims to protect forest ecosystems, rare or endangered fauna, communities and workers.
In addition, measures were adopted to minimize travel by the company’s employees and partners, and to encourage sustainable transport practices. Among other measures, the maple syrup conditioning centre was located in the heart of the Chaudière-Appalaches maple producing region, the largest in the world. The company also promotes the use of local talent: 65% of its employees live within 10 km of the site, and telework is encouraged for those residing outside the area. Also, charging station for electric cars have been placed at employees’ disposal, and parking spaces are reserved for carpool users, respecting all health measures currently in force.
OBTAINING CARBON NEUTRAL CERTIFICATION
The carbon neutral certification is issued by environmental solutions consultants LCL Environnement, specialists in the production of carbon emissions assessments. The report developed for Appalaches Nature included GHG emissions produced by the company’s direct activities (heating and cooling of the plant and offices, electricity consumption, maple syrup processing, technical equipment, vehicle use, business travel) and those produced by the employees in their travels to and from the plant.
To compensate for the GHGs it does produce, the company has partnered with two significant environmental initiatives: Carbone boréal (forest sector) and L’arbre de l’intercoopération. These two projects, overseen and documented by external stakeholders, enabled the planting of 536 trees in degraded natural habitats in the Saguenay region. In addition to capture of GHGs, the tree planting increases biodiversity, helps diminish erosion of soils and reduces heat islands. The trees are then protected from forestry harvesting for at least 50 years.
Also, Appalaches Nature has chosen to expand its commitment by participating in the Carbone Scol’ERE social project. This educational program, present in Quebec schools, aims to inspire young people to adopt eco-responsible habits at home. It is comprised of challenges students can take part in to improve their buying habits, transportation habits and the management of their waste. This year, 330 classes are taking part in this valuable educational initiative.
Carbon neutral certification is an evolving process with the goal of continuously reducing GHG emissions. New measures will be put in place by the company every year with the goal of continuous improvement.
ENGAGE OUR PRODUCER-PARTNERS
With the goal of offering a sustainable product from tree to table, it was important for Appalaches Nature to also engage its network of producer-partners. That’s what inspired the company to take part this year in the start-up of an all-new product certification initiative, led by well-known certification body Ecocert Canada. Appalaches Nature contributed to the definition of norms and practices surrounding the new certification, which aims to reduce and compensate GHGs generated at every stage of maple syrup production, from harvest to bottling. Appalaches Nature is proud to have contributed to the establishment of new standards in the maple industry and to have obtained the new carbon neutral product certification by Ecocert.