What is PACN?
The Argentine Carbon Neutral Program (PACN, as per its Spanish acronym) is a private voluntary adhesion program developed to promote the consolidation of a sustainable brand for Argentine products from the food, beverage and bioenergy export sectors. This brand is achieved through joint sectoral work on carbon footprint quantification methodologies, measurement practices, improvement, and neutrality, until capturing the economic value of the reduction achieved beyond existing commitments.
Scope of the Program
The requirements set for food and beverages to enter the market include a wide variety of environmental standards, both at the public and private level, based on environmental impact categories, under a life-cycle assessment and a product category approach. It is specially food and agricultural products which have been the most impacted by this type of measures recently.
In view of the myriad of private standards, governments have also begun to regulate their own environmental standards setting marketing conditions within their borders, both for domestic and imported products, building on the principle of national treatment. These proposals, based on unilateral trade measures, seek to address domestic political pressures, fulfill national contributions undertaken under multilateral environmental commitments, and prevent carbon leakage to countries with more lax environmental regulations.
As a result of this public-private dynamics producers-exporters have seen the need to incorporate compliance with these standards into the process of adding value to their tradable food products so as to achieve intelligent strategies to position themselves internationally. This involves generating their own calculations to avoid adopting default values (average values established in databases which, in the absence of available local information, producers must use to report their environmental impact) that do not correspond to the region’s agro-climatic conditions; implementing good environmental practices to mitigate the environmental impact and certifying the results under a management plan to successfully position Argentina’s food and beverages on the world’s shelves.
Under the scope of environmental standards, a product carbon footprint is the systematic methodology which quantifies the emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG), quantified in CO2eq emissions emitted throughout the life cycle of a product or service, and covering all the range of activities from the acquisition of raw materials to their management as waste, allowing consumers to decide which food products to buy according to the impact they have on the environment. By working on its carbon balance an organization can achieve neutrality either by framing mitigating action plans (within the company itself) or through carbon offsetting (in other companies or organizations).
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