‘Since 8.00 am, our organic avocadoes have saved 73,771 litres of water.’ This message was shown at 10.00 am on the morning of Tuesday 16 March on a 3 x 5-metre ticker board during a guerrilla campaign at the Binnenhof, the Dutch parliament building. Volkert Engelsman, Managing Director of the Eosta organic trading company, handed out organic avocadoes to passers-by to underline this message. Eosta had the impact of various organic products on water, climate and soil calculated. ‘We make the figures public for consumers to make informed choices. Choose organic – the best choice,’ according to Engelsman.
Eosta had the impact on soil, water and climate (CO2) of all its sold products calculated. From today, the numbers are shared in live tickerS. The figures show that the organic method of producing fruit and vegetables provides clear sustainable advantages over conventional production.
It is generally known that the explosive increase in avocado consumption is causing water shortages in the countries of origin. Choosing organic avocadoes saves 88 litres of water per kilo of avocados compared to conventional avocadoes. Organic soils contain more organic carbon and therefore act like a sponge, saving up to 40% water. In addition, the greater part of Eosta’s avocadoes come from growers in Kenya, who mainly use rainwater, which is naturally much more sustainable compared to irrigation using surface water.
In 2020, Eosta sold nearly 3.5 million kilos of organic avocadoes. Compared to conventional avocadoes, this resulted in water savings of 126 Olympic-sized swimming pools full of drinking water, 260 trucks of fertile soil, and 300 tons of CO2-equivalent greenhouse gas emissions.
The calculations were carried out by Soil & More Impacts, a German-based consultancy that specialises in ecological impact analysis. Soil & More Impacts works with calculation models from the FAO, the Food and Agriculture Organization.
Increased transparency in the shop
Volkert Engelsman, Eosta CEO, invites retail chains to make use of the figures and thus radically increase food transparency. ‘We will be happy to make counters for specific buyers, products and growers. Food retailers sometimes appear to be afraid of transparency, while there is absolutely no reason in this case. I challenge supermarkets to show consumers what choosing organic means for water, soil and climate.’
Why organic performs better
The difference is caused by organic growers’ concern for the soil and their feel for life processes rather than chemicals. Organic soils contain more organic carbon and have a better structure, causing them to act like a sponge that retains water. It also provides biodiversity advantages, less pollution, improved carbon binding in the soil, less erosion and wash-out, etc. Since 1 January 2020, Eosta has saved around 40 million kg of soil, almost 5000 tonnes of CO2 and 800 million litres of water in relation to the conventional alternative. The counter is running.