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Cullen is first in Oz to go carbon neutral

Published:  23 July, 2008

by Sarah Ahmed
Margaret River producer Cullen has become Australia's first carbon neutral winery.

Since joining the Men of The Trees' carbon neutral programme, Cullen has paid for 1,132 native trees to be planted to offset its carbon emissions, achieving carbon neutral status on 21 September this year.

The winery is also looking at offsetting carbon emissions for its domestic and international wine freight.

Men of the Trees has planted millions of trees across Australia to absorb carbon dioxide since its inception more than 25 years ago. Carbon emissions created by equipment powered by combustion processes are responsible for greenhouse gases, which are causing global warming and accelerating climate change.

Cullen's chief winemaker and MD, Vanya Cullen, said Australia has the highest carbon emissions per head of any country in the world, averaging 28 tons, which must be reduced to 3 tons per person to halt global warming. Cullen, whose individual travel last year amounted to 68 tons of carbon, added: All we hear about other than the wine glut

is global warming, and this apparently means it will be too hot to farm in 50 years' time. Let's be positive and do something about it.'

The trees are being planted in the wheat belt area of Western Australia which, due to tree clearance, has experienced excessive salinity problems. Cullen explained that planting the trees is beneficial not only because they consume carbon dioxide, but also because trees produce oxygen and plantings help to lower the water table and reduce soil salination.

Cullen sees the move as part of an ongoing process to give back to the land', which saw the winery certified organic in 2003 and biodynamic in 2004. She has also investigated solar and wind energy to limit carbon emissions, but found there was no guarantee that these could meet the enormous demand for energy during harvest time.