SINGAPORE 22 May 2020 ecoSPIRITS has announced a partnership with Green Steps Group, carbon dioxide (CO2) impact specialists, to launch the ecoSPIRITS Forest Program , which will further offset the carbon impact of beverage operations at leading hotels, bars and restaurants across Asia Pacific. With this first-of-its kind program, ecoSPIRITS and its partner venues, spirit brands and distributors deepen their commitment to carbon impact leadership in the beverage industry.

The ecoSPIRITS Forest Program will help ecoSPIRITS partner venues generate additional carbon mitigation beyond the substantial carbon footprint reduction from their use of low-waste, low-carbon spirits. Under the program, one tree will be planted for each cycle of an ecoTOTE through the ecoSPIRITS closed loop distribution platform.  Each tree planted will be geo-tagged in the name of the partner venue. Using Green Steps Group’s proprietary “proof of planting” technology platform, the ecoSPIRITS Forest Program will be verified, monitored, and reported through an industry-leading digital trail. Tree planting benefits the partner venue, but is jointly funded by ecoSPIRITS, its spirit brand partners, such as Plantation Rum, Widges Gin and Arquitecto Tequila, and its licensed local distributors, such as Proof & Company Australia.

ecoSPIRITS CEO Paul Gabie notes, “Through its closed loop technology, ecoSPIRITS already generates a transformative reduction in the carbon footprint of premium spirits. But reduction is not elimination. The ecoSPIRITS Forest Program ensures we ourselves offset the balance of the carbon footprint from our business and manufacturing operations. More importantly, it will allow the rapidly growing network of ecoSPIRITS partner venues to offset a substantial portion of the remaining carbon footprint of their beverage operations.”

The ecoSPIRITS Forest Program will initially focus on a reforestation tract of the endangered Kalimantan rainforest in Borneo, Indonesia. During the first year of the program, the parties expect to plant at least 25,000 locally grown trees in the area. The process begins with the planting of saplings of indigenous trees, which have been grown from seed at on-site nurseries, in an area cleared of invasive jungle vines. This is a tough, labour-intensive process known as silviculture. In the first year, the planting site is revisited every few months to be manually cleared of the vines, which can overwhelm and smother the young trees. Once safely established, however, these future forest giants can sequester CO2 for more than 200 years.

The Kalimantan rainforest replanting area in Borneo, Indonesia

Andrew Kerr, Green Steps Group founder, explains: “In simple terms, CO2 sequestration refers to the conversion of atmospheric CO2 into carbon. Trees are approximately 50% carbon, which means half of every tree is long-term-stored CO2, and with the massive and incredibly fast growing trees in Borneo this is one of the best places on Earth to capture CO2.”

Under the ecoSPIRITS Forest Program, the principal local tree species planted will be Dillenia Borneensis, Octomeles Sumatrana, and Molotus Muticus. Approximately 12 kg of CO2 is sequestered per tree, per year, over an initial 12-year period. Beyond 12 years, the sequestration increases as the trees grow. With life spans averaging 200 years, and with some of the trees such as Octomeles Sumatrana living up to 500 years, the average tree in the ecoSPIRITS Forest Program will sequester 2,400 kg of CO2 – or the equivalent of eliminating 4,800 single use glass spirit bottles – over its entire lifespan.

The ecoSPIRITS Forest Program will be managed by a cooperative (co-op) of four villages, who share the income from the tree planting. In addition, they set aside funding for village student scholarships and medical emergencies. Prior to COVID-19, the village co-ops relied mainly on ecotourism for funding, but the impact of the pandemic has left the village planting-operation entirely dependent on support from enterprises such as ecoSPIRITS, Green Steps Group and their spirits and distribution partners. Working together, the ecoSPIRITS network is helping to regenerate a safe, natural habitat for some of the planet’s most rare and endangered wildlife, while also providing hugely valuable CO2 sequestration.

The ecoSPIRITS Forest Program will have a substantial impact on the carbon footprint of ecoSPIRITS partner venues. By choosing ecoSPIRITS, venues already generate 550g of carbon emissions savings per 700ml bottle of spirit poured. The ecoSPIRITS Forest Program now adds an additional 1,800g of yearly emissions savings for each bottle poured. One such venue is Cantina OK! in Sydney, Australia, which will plant at least 250 trees per year by pouring Arquitecto Tequila. The annual carbon impact of Cantina OK!’s ecoSPIRITS partnership, through both the elimination of single use glass and reforestation, will now  exceed 4,000kg of emissions reduction. And all this for a 15-square meter laneway bar.

“Rarely do you get the opportunity to work with innovative people looking to make the world a better place. Not everyone sees the forest for the trees. Our relationship with ecoSPIRITS is one of those unique win-win situations. We thought eliminating single use glass bottles was game-changing, but the ecoSPIRITS Forest Program has really set a new precedent,” says Alex Dowd, Co-Owner, Cantina OK!. “We’re proud to be a part of it and feel lucky that, even in a small space, we can contribute to offsetting our carbon impact and reforesting endangered rainforests. We hope that other companies around the world are taking notice of the new standards being set.”


About Green Steps Group

Green Steps Group, a Swedish-based technology start-up, provides governance for the tree planting organization  and the measurement of the CO2 output of each tree. Using a proprietary platform that combines geo-tagging, camera-traps and satellite multi-spectrum imagery to monitor individual trees , GSG and the on-site research scientists track the overall health of the forest and track the long-term CO2 impact at a per-tree level. Demonstrating how quickly success can be achieved, GSG has been able to document the movements of orangutans sleeping in trees that were planted only a few years ago.

For more information, please visit www.greenstepsgroup.com