By Paul Brown
It may be surprising to realize that a plant struggling for survival in a harsh environment is also doing its part to save the planet from the threats of rapid climate change. But that’s what the cacti of Mexico manage to do.
Research published in the journal The Science of Nature shows that desert soils supporting a high density of cacti contain large amounts of stored bio-minerals (minerals produced by living organisms), formed by the action of plants by extracting dioxide of carbon from the atmosphere.
Not only that. Cacti can also be harvested, processed, and made into a form of leather used to craft fashion accessories like handbags and wallets.
These two attributes were transformed into a successful business by a Mexican / American company, CACTO. It claims to be the first “carbon-negative fashion company in the Americas” – in other words, its operations remove more carbon from the atmosphere than it creates when manufacturing and marketing. his products.
No animal involved
This is a bold statement in an industry struggling with its poor environmental record. According to McKinsey and Co., the global fashion industry emits roughly the same amount of greenhouse gases as France, Germany and the UK combined. But CACTO gives special treatment to cacti in Mexico.
CACTO products are vegan and thus allow a growing class of consumers to purchase leather goods made without any animal products.
Research on the ability of the cactus to extract carbon from the atmosphere and store it has been carried out on a species of cactus, the saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea), which can reach 40 feet.
It is native to the Sonoran Desert in Arizona and the Mexican state of Sonora, and shares the same carbon management capabilities with all other varieties of cacti. This turned out to be a bonus for CACTO as cacti are the most numerous plants in Mexico.
CACTO’s plantations are organic, fed by rainwater, free of herbicides and pesticides, and renewable, and after the ears, or leaves; of the cactus are harvested, the plant grows a replacement in six to eight months. This regeneration allows repeated harvests. The leaves are then dried in the sun to avoid using electricity. The company’s products (available only in green or black) are on sale in more than 100 countries.
CACTO was founded by Jesus Chavez, a climate activist, and was designed to have sustainability as a guiding principle at the heart of its operations. The entire production cycle is closely monitored by its staff, from the sourcing of materials to production, packaging, distribution and shipping.
Through a partnership with a Swiss non-profit organization, On a Mission, CACTO claims that its staff have measured and offset 150% of their CO2 emissions through sustainable reforestation around the world.
The measurement and compensation process will take place every six months for the next 10 years. Thanks to several emerging partnerships, the company says it aims to offset at least 1000% of the emissions it generates by the end of 2021.
Jesus Chavez said: âIf we are to succeed in achieving net zero carbon emissions well before 2050 and avoiding the worst consequences of climate change, we must all work together in every capacity possible.
âIndustries at all levels must take advantage of existing technology and offsets programs to become carbon negative, and invest in new research and innovation to achieve this goal faster. The decisions we make this decade will determine the fate of humanity for centuries to come. . It’s up to us now.
He said customers around the world wanted alternatives to materials that increased pollution and unethical manufacturing processes.
CACTO hopes to inspire a new generation of entrepreneurs to make clear what has been evident to scholars for decades, that decoupling emissions from economic growth is not only doable, but the smarter, faster and more efficient way. more responsible to grow. Mexican cacti bear a heavy responsibility on their ears – or leave – or branches.
Republished with permission from Climate News Network.