Making cigars climate neutral. Sustainability is a major issue nowadays because of climate change. Many industries are moving to a more sustainable way of production. But you might think that making cigars is very sustainable at its core. It’s planting a crop, harvesting it, curing and fermenting it naturally. And then roll cigars by using plant-based glue. That part is pretty sustainable and almost climate neutral.

But then comes the transport of both the raw tobacco and the finished product. The packaging and the manufacturing of it. Printing of the labels, lacquering the boxes. Then the transport in the country of destination. Suddenly the overall carbon footprint of the cigar you are smoking is negative. Yet, since tobacco is a live crop, climate change is a serious threat to the cigar industry. Just a few months ago two major hurricanes hit Nicaragua and Honduras. 

Climate Neutral cigars

Recently Ministry of Cigars published an article about the CLE Foundation. And CLE is actively involved in a reforestation program. That helps to offset their carbon footprint. It is the goal of Christian Eiroa to make CLE completely sustainable with zero-negative impact on the environment. But Christian Eiroa isn’t the only cigar manufacturer that realizes something needs to be done. Philipp Kugler from the German Nicaraguan brand CigarKings feels the same.

To make his brand CigarKings climate neutral, Kugler teams up with Rainforest Alliance. Rainforest Alliance plants native bamboo in the Rio Kama region of Nicaragua. The NGO has planted over 1 million plants of a native species of giant clumping bamboo, covering 2,361 hectares. All the while also protecting an additional 1,000 hectares of old forest as a conservation zone. It has transformed a degraded landscape into a flourishing and biodiverse ecosystem. And with Rainforest Alliance as its partner, CigarKings offsets all of its Co2 emissions. They are completely climate-neutral since November of last year. Ministry of Cigar wishes more cigar brands would take the social responsibility to offset their Co2 emissions.

Ministry of Cigars - Making cigars climate neutral

CigarKings reasons

In a conversation with Ministry of Cigars, Philipp Kugler says that the Covid-19 pandemic is causing a disruption in the classic import routes. The new routes had detours and are the cause for an enormous co2 burden. When Kugler saw juice packaging with a “climate neutral” certification in the supermarket he knew he had to do something. The juice brand made an introduction with the company Climate Partner. This company from Munich, Germany, supports projects to offset Co2 emissions for companies.

The first step was to calculate the Co2 emissions for CigarKings. And not just the transportation, but everything. This includes raw materials, manufacturing, production, import, distribution, and also the smoking of the cigar up to the recycling of the packaging. Once CigarKings knew how much Co2 to offset, it was a question on how. And when Kugler saw a project in Nicaragua, the choice was simple. To give back to the country where CigarKings are made only seems right.

CigarKings does not have any plans of using bamboo as packaging. The project isn’t about wood production but simple to reforest the area. It’s about preserving the 1000 hectares of rainforest and increasing the volume of the forest.

Ministry of Cigars - Making cigars climate neutral
Arial photo of the project in Nicaragua

Why afforestation?

Forests are not only among the planet’s most important carbon reservoirs. They also are home to an enormous diversity of species and are the livelihood for all people. However, global forest areas have declined sharply in recent decades due to increasing settlement, agricultural use, illegal logging, and mining.

The afforestation of new or reforestation of degraded areas is an important contribution to increasing the biosphere’s carbon storage capacity. Afforestation takes place in different ways. Sustainable forestry is able to absorb large quantities of carbon due to the use of fast-growing species. Other projects aim at providing shade and soil improvement in agroforestry. The storage capacity of afforestation areas depends on the type of tree and the geographical location. New forests create habitats for animal and plant species and opportunities for local people.

cover photo by Li-An Lim on Unsplash

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