Patrick Forster laughs happily and holds a green box with lettuce in his hands

Cultivation of the future

Eco-friendly greenhouses

We already pay attention to climate protection when growing our vegetables and fruits. Heating oil and natural gas? Won’t be allowed in the greenhouse from 2025 onwards!

From
Janine Radlingmayr
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What we do

We all take it for granted: juicy fruit and fresh vegetables on the shelves all year round. But many plants originally come from other climatic zones and like it warm to grow. That is why part of the harvest, especially in the cold winter months, comes from Spain, for example – or from a heated greenhouse in this country.

Most greenhouses are heated with fossil fuels such as oil or natural gas. Large quantities of climate-damaging CO2 are emitted in the process.

But it doesn’t have to be that way: we support sustainable cultivation, like that of vegetable farmer Patrick Forster. He runs a hydro-greenhouse that provides us with lettuce all year round – in a climate-friendly way. Because the greenhouse is heated without fossil fuels. Waste heat from the waste incineration plant directly adjacent to the site heats the air in the greenhouse. The heating is therefore CO2-neutral. In close cooperation with our producers, we are in this way taking a big step together towards a climate-friendly future.

Pioneer for the future

Green is sometimes not green enough for us. Our goal: From 2025, we will only offer fruits and vegetables from heated cultivation from greenhouses with renewable energy sources. That protects the climate.

Yes, we know that’s a very ambitious goal. But the environment is worth it to us. Together with our greenhouse operators, we want to achieve this pioneering feat and thereby demonstrate: dispensing with fossil energy sources is feasible – for all sectors.

In the coming years, all greenhouse enterprises that supply us are to switch to renewable heating systems. Because the potential to reduce CO₂ emissions by not using fossil fuels in greenhouses is huge.

Climate footprint in comparison

Ripening tomatoes in a greenhouse

Greens from the greenhouse or from southern climes? Take a tomato, for example. It’s Switzerland’s most popular vegetable. Each of us eats around 10 kg a year. Yet the tomato, when it lands on our plates in winter, doesn’t have a good carbon footprint at all.

Sun-ripened winter tomatoes from Spain, for example, contribute 0.5 kg of CO2 per kilogram – because of the transport. However, 1 kg of tomatoes from fossil-fuel heated Swiss greenhouses consumes far more energy, namely around 5 kg of CO2 and thus 10 times as much. Only in the height of summer, when the red vegetables ripen unheated in our country, is the climate balance of Swiss tomatoes better. What applies to the tomato also applies to other vegetables and fruits.