Swiss mountain air exporter in running for environmental shame award | News | DW | 19.08.2019

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Swiss mountain air exporter in running for environmental shame award

A group that draws attention to environmentally unsound transport has named its nominees in the 2019 "especially absurd shipping award." Among them was one firm exporting Alpine air to Asia.

The Alps Initiative on Monday named three nominees for this year's Especially Absurd Shipping Award. The three products were named and shamed because they are deemed to use "environmentally unsound transport" to deliver them to their customers.

The nominees:

  • Italian Prosciutto ham: Meat from pigs slaughtered in the Netherlands is processed in Italy before being cut and packaged in Austria and sold in Swiss Aldi supermarkets. The process involves transportation over 1,700 kilometers, and results in a carbon footprint nine times than that of local ham, according to the Alps Initiative.
  • Norwegian water: Bottled in glass, then transported by ship and truck over 1,500 kilometers to Swiss Migros supermarkets.
  • Swiss deluxe air: Cans of "deluxe" air which are shipped to Asia, a process the environmentalists say results in "infinitely more" carbon dioxide than simply breathing the local air. If a spray can of Swiss Air Deluxe is exported to Thailand, for example, it covers almost 20,000 kilometers, according to the Alps Initiative.

Read more: Opinion: Has Greta Thunberg gone overboard?

'Not life-enhancing'

"A lot of attention is required to avoid products that do nothing to improve your life," Alps Initiative chief Jon Pult said in a statement.      

The companies behind the nominees disagree that their products justify being shamed.

Swiss Air Deluxe founder Markus Klinkmueller told Germany's DPA news agency that his cans reduce excess capacity on cargo vessels that return to Asia after having brought goods to Europe.

Migros media spokesman Tristan Cerf explained that more than 60 percent of the water offered in its supermarket comes from domestic sources. In addition, "transport has a minimal impact on the ecological balance sheet."

Aldi defended the claims by the Alps Initiative, saying that it makes an effort to optimize its logistics chain in order to keep transport times as short and its vehicles as full as possible.

Last year's absurd award was given to a real estate company, for facades made of German stones which were processed and assembled in China.

kw/rc (dpa)

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