5 Feb 2021

What is the CO2-footprint of Dutch fruit

Development of a carbon footprint tool for the Dutch fruit sector

Blonk has developed a carbon footprint tool for the Dutch fruit sector. The tool gives fruit growers insight into the total carbon footprint of their fruit and the contribution made to this by the different aspects involved in the cultivation process. It also shows opportunities for improvement, such as switching to electric equipment, generating green energy, or reducing the use of chemical fertilizers. The tool was created in Excel and is available for apples, pears, red currants, blackberries, cherries, and plums.

The Dutch fruit sector needed a tool for generating climate impact data at the company level. The tool also had to give fruit growers and other parties in the value chain insight into their carbon footprint and its composition. In addition, it needed to show improvement opportunities to reduce the carbon footprint. Based on these criteria, Blonk created a tool in Excel, which fruit growers can start using immediately.


The development process of a sector-specific carbon footprint tool

The first step in the development process involved visiting various fruit growers to learn about the processes and materials used at the fruit farms.

Quick scans were performed to determine the relative environmental impact of these aspects and make an initial selection. Next, the calculation rules, query fields, and a general structure were defined. The first version of the tool was then presented to a group of stakeholders. After making several improvements, the tool was presented to a group of fruit growers. The user-friendliness and clarity were tested through case studies, and users of the tool were asked to provide an initial reaction. Several adjustments were made and discussed with the stakeholders based on this input. The last improvements were incorporated into the final version of the tool.


The tool is available for specific types of fruit: apples, pears, red currants, blackberries, cherries, and plums. The analysis includes the entire fruit value chain, from cradle to grave. The tool uses primary data, which is farm-specific data entered by the fruit grower, such as diesel and chemical fertilizer use, in addition to averages such as the carbon footprint of the young trees purchased.

The tool uses the PEF guidelines and the recently published Hortifootprint Category Rules for its calculation rules. The tool provides a visual representation of the contribution of different processes, such as cultivation, packaging, and distribution, to the total carbon footprint.

The tool gives fruit growers immediate insight into their carbon footprint

Dutch fruit growers use the tool to calculate the carbon footprint of their fruit. In some cases, an advisor supports them. The tool displays the results immediately, thus giving the fruit grower insight into their carbon footprint. Fruit growers can also experiment with reducing their carbon footprint by entering alternatives or future scenarios.

Further development of the carbon footprint tool

Currently, the tool runs in an Excel environment but could easily be developed into an online application or integrated into an existing software package.

More information

Get in touch

Janjoris van Diepen
Team Manager

Questions about this project? Or interested in a sector specific carbon footprint tool? Get in touch with Janjoris.