The soul of D'Armela, environmental and social sustainability
Economy for the common good
In D’Armela we are inspired by the basic principles of the economy for the common good that represent human values: trust, honesty, responsibility, cooperation, solidarity, generosity and compassion.
It is opposed to a capitalist-monetaristic model, which has been based on the predominance of profit and competition, in the name of which justifies all sorts of abuses that directly threaten human dignity and the environment, leaving any moral consideration aside. Companies are only valued for monetary benefits, without considering the degree of satisfaction of the people with which they interact or their environmental impact.
The principles of the economy for the common good are translated into fairtrade practices, improving the quality of life of workers, suppliers and customers, ecological sustainability and a reversion of benefits to society.
D’Armela is embed into the rural world and surrounded by nature. An environment that is the vital support of all who inhabit it. One of our aims is to improve the welfare of neighbours and not harm the environment, and therefore we see ourselves aligned with the green economy.
In fact, the green economy pursues the sustainable development without degrading the environment. It focuses on reducing environmental impacts, avoiding the exhaustion of resources and social protection.
Critical points of action are focused on renewable energies, the energy efficiency of buildings, the sustainability of transport, and the management of water, waste and the land. The end result should allow nature to compensate for itself the impacts of economic activity to maintain the viability of the life support it gives us.
D’Armela is also aligned with the principles of circular economy. It is a model that creates value extending the shelf life of products and transferring the waste from the end of the production chain at the beginning. It contrasts to the linear economy that is based on extracting, producing, using and throwing.
The circular economy pursues the use of resources more than once, so that they are used with greater efficiency. It is based on long-lasting designs, maintenance, repair, reuse, recycling and renewal of existing materials and products, in order to minimize the resources consumed, waste generated, pollution and carbon emissions.
The sustainability of D'Armela
The carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gases emitted by human activity, both directly and indirectly. At the moment we do not have an analysis of the life cycle of our products. But we have some data.
In D’Armela the power source for running the workshop is electric. Our supplier is currently Iberdrola. Depending on their data on the composition of the energy we consume, only 37 ‘ 8% comes from renewable energies. We aim to improve to reduce our carbon footprint, which is now 0 ‘ 27 kg CO2/KWH. Moreover, 0 ‘ 53 mg/KWH of additional radioactive waste is generated, which neither fits our principles.
Carbon footprint of raw materials supply
In D’Armela most of the ingredients we consume are Km0, produced in the Maestrat. Thus we avoid long distances of supply transport, which allows us to reduce the carbon footprint of this factor, in comparison especially with matters imported from other continents. As can be seen in the table (own elaboration), emissions per tonne of product purchased soar by 10 in almonds of Spanish origin. If we will opt for californians, the emissions would be multiplied by between 31 and 58, according to the source port. And finally, if like other workshops, we would use cashews to make our vegan cheeses, the emissions would be multiplied by 34 if they came from India, and by 43 if they were from Vietnam.
The water footprint is the total volume of freshwater used (consumed, evaporated, polluted) to produce the goods and services of a company. Quantifies the potential environmental impact related to water, since water is a limiting resource to many parts of the world.
In the freshwater used for an activity it is necessary to differentiate two concepts: “Green water” and “Blue Water”. Green water comes from natural rainfall and soil humidity. Blue Water is the one that is extracted from both the surface and the subsoil for use for irrigation, for industrial use, to drink…
The average annual rainfall in the Maestrat rounds the 500 mm/m2 It is an entry of 5000 m3 per hectare and year. The cooler zones can climb to 7000 m3 on average and the driest will not pass from 4000 m3. Applying here the concept of “green water”, it will be the fraction of this natural rainfall that crops retain for its growth, which is never 100% of rainwater. Dry crops do not make more extraction than this and do not consume “blue water” (for irrigation).
The configuration of the “Maestrat” aquifer added to the overexploitation of the coast makes us difficult to obtain drinking water and almost impossible for irrigation (blue water).
In the Maestrat we suffer from water overexploitation that is made by the irrigated orchards of the coastline and for the supply of the massified beach tourism, which drain all the aquifer and leaves us dry.
It is given the paradox that water-deficit basins such as the main agricultural areas in Spain, are net exporters of products that are intensive in water consumption and which they sell to European countries with a surplus of water. In other words, we do not have water and we specialize in growing products that require intensive use, to be sold to people who have leftover. And we buy goods and services that do not need water to be produced. It makes no sense whatever. If climate change takes the path that is planned, it will make many of the current economic activities unsustainable.
Water footprint of the Workshop
In D’Armela manufacturing processes only require the incorporation of constitution water to build the food we produce and water for cleaning the facilities. All the detergents used are biodegradable, and the totality of the dirty water is accumulated in a sealed tank, from which it is recycled for agricultural irrigation use. Under no circumstances are they derived to the public sanitation network, nor it is done any uncontrolled spill.
Water footprint of the ingredients
A D’Armela hour activity is adapted to the available resources of our environment. Weminimise the water footprint of our products because we use mainly those from rainfed cultivation. We live in an environment where water is a limiting resource. In addition, the irrigation of the coastline and the overcrowded beach tourism activity cause the exhaustion of the aquifer of the Maestrat and hinder the supply of the public network.
The rainfed cultivation takes advantage of natural rainfall, which is why it is subjected to strong variations in productivity from year to year. It is a self-regulating system and in no case consumes more water from the available.
The almonds, olives, carobs, honey, hazelnuts, truffles and aromatic herbs are products adapted to the climatic conditions of the mediterranean rainfed lands. It is a factor that drops productivity but, as a counterparty, increases the quality (slower growth of the fruit, greater nutritional richness, better taste).
Water footprint of almond tree cultivation in rainfed land
All the almond and olive groves of D’Armela’s exploitation are cultivated in rainfed land. Only varieties adapted to the rainfed conditions are used, capable of resisting droughts and adapting their production to the water availability of each vintage. The varieties selected for irrigation are much more productive, but they have difficulty surviving in rainfed conditions.
The rainfed cultivation techniques represents a consumption that does not reach the 5000 m3 of green water per hectare (natural rainfall), to an average production of 300-400 Kg of almond grain per hectare in the best conditions. Irrigated almond crops add , to the already commented fraction of green water, that of the blue water. The water provided for irrigation of intensive almond orchards is up to 7000 m3 of additional blue water per hectare for productions that can exceed 3000 kg of grain per hectare and year (Spanish conditions and Californian too). Unfeasible for the vast majority of the Maestrat plantations.
Totally related to this aspect, all the imported almonds from California are from selected varieties for the intensive cultivation with irrigation that maximises its water footprint and the impact on its basin. An in confidence, the organoleptic differences do not resist the comparison 🙂
Summary: The rainfed crops of the Maestrat only retain green water from natural rainfall and it is impossible to allocate blue water to the irrigation. Therefore, the water footprint and the affectation on the Maestrat’s aquifer is the minimum of possible: a retention smaller than 5000 m3/ha of the natural rainfall compared to 12.000 m3/ha of the irrigated crops (rainfall + well or river water).
To consume almonds from the Maestrat reduce the water footprint of the diet of the people who do it, especially if they substitute the imported of California and those of varieties for irrigation.
Impact of processing and packaging
The manufacturing processes of D’Armela do not generate by-products or residues in significant volumes, beyond packaging of raw materials. In any case they are selectively collected and are delivered to the recycling channels.
All the materials used for packaging are recyclable. We opt for glass in most of the cases and only for plastic materials, always recyclable, when it is the only technically viable option, given the requirements of food safety and useful life of the product.