- September 4, 2018
We always try to do the right thing. Whether it’s offering health benefits and making contributions to 401K accounts for all employees, or refraining from spraying herbicides in the vineyard, or preserving over half of our ranch as oak woodlands for native flora and fauna, we want to do as much as we can to protect the planet and better the lives of others.
As a team, we brought the conversation of “doing the right thing” to the forefront. Through Breaktime chats about sustainability, we realized that a large part of our carbon emission output as a business is from the shipping of Hafner wine to our patrons across the country. Even though the wine is technically out of our hands and into our shipper’s, we still feel it is our responsibility until the wine is in the hands of our patrons. We sell all of our wine direct to people at home, not in any wine shops. That means we can keep our prices lower, but we don’t ship in bulk quantities (although we happily will for anyone who needs a pallet of wine!), so it means many truck rides for our wine.
Carbon dioxide gas is emitted into the atmosphere when fuel is burned (i.e. driving cars or trucks) amongst other things. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. These gases create a layer around the planet that allows the sun’s heat to penetrate in but then traps it there, just as a greenhouse in a garden works, warming the planet. Carbon dioxide gas is by far the largest contributor to greenhouse gases, comprising 65% of the emissions.
So, we said to each other… “What can we do?”
We brainstormed different options and decided that we wanted to make our shipments “carbon neutral”. After researching various ways to do this, we chose to partner with the Carbonfund.org Foundation. They are a non-profit that invests in projects which aim to capture carbon and reduce carbon emissions around the world. We calculate how many packages we ship, the weight and the distance they travel. The Carbonfund.org Foundation calculates the amount of carbon dioxide emitted from the transport of each package and using the EPA shipping emission factors, they determine the number of carbon offsets we need to purchase. Those carbon offsets are invested in projects aimed at reducing carbon emissions or sequestering carbon. (Read Carbonfund.org's blog about Hafner Vineyard.)
One of the reasons for our success as a business is our frugality and thoughtfulness around spending. Decisions, such as carbon neutral shipping, do not come without thorough discussion and analysis of the financial impact. In the end, we decided that although it would add an additional expense, it was the right thing to do. So as of September 1st, all packages we ship are carbon neutral.
That increased cost will not be passed on to our patrons. We know how shipping charges can put a damper on your purchase (especially a heavy one like wine!). We subsidize the majority of the shipping charges including this new initiative of offsetting the carbon emissions associated with each package. We have always offered very low shipping prices, much less than the bill we receive from the shipper and less than our peers.
We are very excited that the transport of our wine to patrons all over the country will now be carbon neutral but know that we won’t stop there. Our conversation about sustainability will continue, and we’re always open to new ideas.