The first meeting scheduled by the working group that will advise the International Olive Oil Council (IOC) on the role of the olive tree in the fight against climate change was held on 6 February.

The meeting was organised by the IOC’s Olive Growing, Olive Oil Technology and Environment Unit and was opened by Jaime Lillo, executive director of the IOC, who stressed that recognising the contribution of the olive grove as part of the strategy to combat climate change will be one of the main working objectives under his mandate.

This working group is composed of experts with extensive experience in various disciplines ranging from olive crop ecology to soil carbon fluxes, who will guide the IOC Executive Secretariat in the development of a robust methodology and easy tools to determine the carbon balance of olive groves in order to encourage conversion to carbon credits that can be traded on the voluntary emissions market.

The objectives of this IOC working group are to provide evidence of the role of olive groves as a tool in the fight against climate change through their capacity as a CO2 sink; to define a robust methodology based on scientific knowledge to calculate the carbon balance of olive groves; to develop user-friendly software tools to calculate the carbon balance; to design a voluntary carbon credit certification scheme for the olive sector that is compatible with European Commission regulations; and to establish the IOC as a forum and catalyst for all of the above, with the aim of highlighting and disseminating the contribution of olive groves to climate change mitigation.

Finally, it should be noted that the origin of the working group took place at the international workshop organised by the IOC in October 2023 under the slogan “Carbon balance of the olive sector: part of the solution against climate change“, which brought together 300 specialists from 30 countries. As a result of this project, the November meeting of the Technology and Environment Committee agreed to create this working group to improve the contribution of the olive tree to the global strategy to tackle climate change.

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