The PRWIRE Press Releases https:// 2020-02-20T03:40:01Z MEDIA RELEASE: Top Margaret River winemaker achieves carbon negative status 2020-02-20T03:40:01Z media-release-top-margaret-river-winemaker-achieves-carbon-negative-status Cullen Wines in Margaret River Western Australia is now ''carbon negative''. The company has offset its carbon emissions since 2006 and has successfully reduced its carbon footprint so that they take more carbon from the atmosphere than they emit. To compensate for their carbon emissions, Cullen Wines has been buying carbon credits which support tree planting in Carbon Neutral’s Yarra Yarra Biodiversity Corridor 400km north of Perth. The distinguished winery is a leader in biodynamic, sustainable and solar-powered practices. Cullen Wines Managing Director and Chief Winemaker Vanya Cullen said the company's philosophy of "quality, integrity and sustainability" led it to approach carbon solutions provider Carbon Neutral. "It is the way forward and our little piece to balance carbon and climate change," Ms Cullen said. Carbon Neutral identified and calculated the emissions associated with Cullen's day to day operations. Tractor use, agricultural practices, air miles, packaging and freight, were among the components measured. Carbon Neutral Chief Executive Officer Ray Wilson said “the fact that Cullen Wines is now carbon negative is impressive. This is a great case study of how a business has reduced carbon intensity over time through production efficiencies and has now become 'carbon negative' through soil carbon sequestration.” Carbon Neutral studied the amount of organic carbon stored in the soil of Cullens’ 31ha vineyard over the five years from 2014. “Broadly, it is well recognised the amount of organic carbon stored in Australian soils could be increased by changing land management practices”, said Mr Wilson. “This will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase farm productivity and potentially create offsets.” Moves towards reducing – or even eliminating – a carbon footprint align with the West Australian State Government’s push for WA farmers to adopt regenerative agriculture practices, said Mr Wilson. The Government estimates land degradation to cost WA's agricultural production sector more than $2 billion each year. Cullen Wines implemented dedicated changes, including intensive soil management and composting alongside the existing biodynamic methods. The amount of soil organic carbon (SOC) at testing sites on the Wilyabrup winery indicate that soil in the ground has increased more than 2602 tonnes between 2014 and 2019, on average 520 tonnes a year. Wine critic and writer Ray Jordan said Cullen Wines’ focus on environmental benchmarks is to be commended. “By any measure, winemaker Vanya Cullen’s decision to adopt a rigorous biodynamics approach in the vineyard and winery, together with other environmentally sound initiatives aimed it eliminating carbon footprint, has been a resounding success,” Mr Jordan said. “But it is in the quality and consistency of the wines that the impact is most profound. The flagship Diana Madeline is among Margaret River’s elite cabernets with its brightness and energy features of the biodynamic approach. The chardonnays share a similar status with the purity and precision capturing the best of this variety.” “This has really opened our eyes to what you can do,” said Mr Wilson. “The numbers around soil carbon achieved by Cullen’s has astounded us.” Cullen Wine’s environmental success shows how reducing an organisation's carbon footprint without compromising mission or profit is within reach. Ms Cullen urges fellow growers and producers to “go carbon neutral now”.   BACKGROUND • Carbon Neutral aims to reduce and repair the consequences of the impact of the human race on the planet. • Carbon Neutral works with organisations to help them minimise their impact on the environment by measuring, reducing and offsetting greenhouse gas emissions. • The Carbon Neutral group has planted more than 30 million trees. • A tonne of organic carbon equates to 3.67 tonnes of carbon dioxide drawn out of the atmosphere. • Cullen Wines was established in 1971 and moved to total organic viticulture in 1998. • In 2004, the Cullen Vineyard became certified A Grade Biodynamic by the BFA of Australia and its Mangan Vineyard and Winery was certified in 2008. • The first major goal of the revived Soil and Land Conservation Council in 2019 was to implement the draft State Soil Health Strategy, addressing key soil issues in WA such as salinity and soil carbon. • Action on climate change was a prominent subject covered at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, last month.   Carbon Neutral project is first in Australia to receive prestigious Gold Standard certification 2015-09-03T02:53:49Z carbon-neutral-project-is-first-in-australia-to-receive-prestigious-gold-standard-certification Carbon Neutral has achieved global recognition with the first Australian carbon emissions reduction project to receive Gold Standard certification. Over the past eight years, Carbon Neutral has established innovative large-scale reforestation projects which extend across 10,000 hectares of the Western Australian Wheatbelt – in the process creating Australia’s largest revegetation project based on carbon capture and biodiversity. Following a lengthy and rigorous process which involved significant investment, Carbon Neutral’s native reforestation project has been awarded prestigious Gold Standard certification by the Geneva-based Gold Standard Foundation. The recognition comes as Carbon Neutral is experiencing growing demand for reducing carbon emissions from Australian businesses, including some of the nation’s leading corporates. Carbon Neutral CEO Ray Wilson said: “Australian companies now view environmental responsibility as a critical component of their business, and they are increasingly being measured on their performance by consumers, investors and auditors. “However, many companies are currently investing in emissions reduction projects overseas, as a result of a shortage of suitable home-grown projects. Carbon Neutral gives Australian businesses the opportunity to do something positive for the environment, as well as assist our regional communities through the creation of jobs and related economic benefits.” Achieving Gold Standard certification – the premium international standard – recognises the Carbon Neutral project’s environmental, social and economic credentials. David Shelmerdine, President of The Gold Standard Foundation, said: “Our rigorous process ensures integrity and transparency for any company that purchases credits from Gold Standard projects. For Carbon Neutral’s reforestation project, achieving Gold Standard certification verifies its multi-faceted benefits — from global climate security to restoring habitats for native biodiversity, and even supporting local communities socio-economically. “We are delighted that these benefits are now being realised in Australia, and that Australian companies can support a Gold Standard-calibre project in our own backyard by purchasing carbon credits.” Carbon Neutral develops biodiverse reforestation projects on degraded, semi-arid agricultural land that no longer supports viable farming practices. “In the region where we operate, over 90% of land has already been cleared,” Mr Wilson said. “Carbon Neutral is helping to return the environment to its origins, planting up to 40 native tree and shrub species which are matched to the environment. “Very importantly, this reforestation program creates a large-scale habitat for over 450 native species, including endangered and declining flora and fauna, in the Yarra Yarra Biodiversity Corridor which is one of only 35 biodiversity ‘hotspots’ worldwide, as recognised by Conservation International.”About Carbon Neutral Carbon Neutral is a carbon solutions provider and Australia's major biodiverse reforestation offset developer. We help organisations across Australia, and beyond, minimise their impact on the environment by working with them to measure, reduce and offset greenhouse gas emissions. Carbon Neutral has to date planted over 20 million trees and shrubs on properties located in the Wheatbelt region of Western Australia, which will remove over 1.2 million tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere. For further information see Gold Standard Foundation Gold Standard works to create a climate secure world where sustainable growth brings life-changing benefits to communities everywhere. Gold Standard was established in 2003 by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and other international NGOs as a best practice standard to ensure projects that reduced carbon emissions under the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) also delivered on their dual mandate to foster sustainable development. Now with more than 80 NGO supporters and 1100 projects in over 70 countries, Gold Standard projects have delivered billions of dollars in climate and development outcomes in local communities all around the world. For further information see Biodiversity Wins for South West Reforestation Project as Establishment Rate of Native Species Smashes Targets 2013-02-21T06:55:30Z biodiversity-wins-for-south-west-reforestation-project-as-establishment-rate-of-native-species-smashes-targets Named after the creek that passes through the property, Pinjalup is a 251 hectare site located 90km north of Albany. The property is perfectly positioned to link up existing nature corridors and contribute to the achievement of the Gondwana Link vision, one of the largest and most ambitious conservation projects in Australia’s history. The Southwest of Australia is one of 34 global biodiversity hotspots, recognised for its species richness.  It is estimated that 32% of Australia’s plant species are found here, of which approximately 79% are endemic. The vision of the Gondwana Link and the organisations/community members involved is to protect and restore ecological connectivity and biodiversity across south-west Australia, from the Karri forest of the SW corner to the woodlands and mallee bordering the Nullarbor Plain. At Pinjalup, the aim was to rehabilitate an area to recreate bushland which, as far as possible, mirrors what naturally would occur, a varied and diverse habitat with up to 550 plant species. At a pivotal time for the project, almost three years on from the initial planting, Carbon Neutral staff visited the Pinjalup site with local biodiversity restoration consultant Wendy Bradshaw. Wendy, then working as part of the South Coast Natural Resource Management team, designed the original plan for the site – carefully selecting suitable native shrubs and trees to plant and preparing the land for rehabilitation. When Carbon Neutral took on Pinjalup in 2010 the site was marginal farming land. “The majority of the land was not suitable for crops or grazing. The land was prone to water logging and salinity in parts, and available stock water was brackish,” said Wendy.  “From an ecological perspective, biodiversity was the best use for the land. In order to maintain our landscape we need a critical mass of native vegetation to support ecosystem processes that keep the land, and those that live on it healthy. From an agricultural perspective, relatively unproductive land like Pinjalup was an obvious choice for biodiversity conservation,” said Wendy. The plan was to optimise biodiversity at each vegetation level to maximise habitat values as well as improve ecosystem function, including: a ground layer with native grasses, ground covers, rushes and low shrubs to create dense habitat for fauna that is vulnerable to predation such as birds, reptiles and small mammals; the mid-storey including medium to tall shrubs and the tree layer including small to larger trees and mallees. The planting design attempted to mimic locally-occurring natural vegetation systems.  “The first step was to map out the condition of the land – the soil types were described and soil salinity levels recorded across Pinjalup,” said Wendy. “A vegetation survey of the bushland on the property and surrounding areas was also carried out to help inform species selection.” In July and August 2010, approximately 163,250 seedlings and 57.6kg of seed were planted at Pinjalup. Over 113 different native species were planted. “The design included a high density of rushes and shrubs to help capture rainfall and sunlight, provide habitat, and restore soil health through increasing organic matter cover, rootmass and improved hydrological balance,” said Wendy. “Dense understorey creates a microclimate that helps insulate the vegetation from extreme weather events and promotes resilience and self-sustainability.” Almost three years on, a large percentage of native species planted at Pinjalup are thriving. The target was to achieve 1,250 stems per hectare, but progress monitoring shows a result of approximately 5,300 stems per hectare across 158 planted hectares. “Despite the challenge of the 2010 record drought, I’m really pleased with the outcome. There is really good biodiversity across all three levels of vegetation. I’m confident that any sparsely populated areas will regenerate naturally and achieve good cover in time,” said Wendy. “Pinjalup has a great mix of native species and the establishment rate of the trees, shrubs and ground layer is extremely positive.” “I’m excited about the result – a lot of animals and insects are going to live here. During my first evening monitoring visit at Pinjalup I straightaway saw white fronted chats flitting around the shrubs and a brown goshawk sitting on the fence. This can only get better.” Pinjalup’s revegetation is complete and the planting connects existing bushland in the area, while absorbing greenhouse gas emissions. Pinjalup is now ready for its next owner, and funds received from the sale of the property will go towards Carbon Neutral’s future ‘Trees for Tomorrow’ revegetation projects in Southwest Australia.There is also a remaining 18 hectares area available for planting should owners wish to be fully immersed in all stages of a biodiversity project or have some form of farm forestry which could provide an additional income. New owners can enjoy observing and caring for the vegetation as it matures and attracts many more critters – such as additional bird species, pygmy possums, echidnas, and race-horse goannas to name a few. Maybe one day when a consolidated link between Hamilla Hill and Pinjalup has been achieved, quenda could appear. This would be the ultimate indicator of successful landscape-scale connectivity! Carbon Neutral would like to thank stakeholders and everyone involved for helping to make this project such a great success. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. 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