Sustainability at Alpe Pragas

Eco Manufactory - Intervista a Stefan Gruber

A new goal to achieve!

That's right. Alpe Pragas will become an Eco-Manufactory by 2027.
Here is the interview with Stefan Gruber, founder and innovative soul of Alpe Pragas,
in which he himself illustrates the steps necessary to achieve this important result.

One question: what is an 'Eco-Manufacturing'?

SG: The term „Eco-Manufacturing“ contains two very important concepts for us. CO2-neutral production by 2027 and complete avoidance of plastic. In other words, we do not want to emit more emissions than we can and at the same time neutralize them and eliminate plastic. Doing without plastic is an easy goal for us, because we have always thought in this direction. We only have one product, agave syrup, which we currently package in plastic, but within the next year we will also replace this packaging with glass. All external packaging of our products is 100% cardboard. Approximately 5 years ago we purchased a carton packaging machine – the alternative was already then: all outer packaging made of plastic. This has never been the alternative for us! One thing is certain: only those who are TRULY CONCRETE make their contribution.

What steps are needed for zero-CO2 production and completely plastic-free work?

SG: The first important step is to avoid plastic or only use it if it can be easily recycled. As regards CO2 emissions, in the future we will produce energy from renewable raw materials (wood chips). For some years we have been using exclusively "green electricity", which is generated from hydroelectricity. An important point is the production of glass and the emissions that are produced in the process. Glass is ingenious precisely to guarantee the quality of the product. It creates a barrier against oxygen and does not release any foreign substances to the product. The challenge is to offset the emissions generated during glass production. We are already in an intense exchange with our supplier, there is also the desire to continuously improve things, but there is still a long way to go. Unfortunately, there is still no alternative to fossil fuels for melting glass.
It is always a question of compensation, which must be able to be obtained directly or indirectly! A plant absorbs CO2 during growth, which is a prerequisite for photosynthesis. Wood chips, for their part, are a type of biomass that has already absorbed CO2, which is then burned and emitted again – so we are at 0:0 here.

Question: What does Eco-Manufactory mean in terms of employees? Do they all come from the immediate vicinity of Braies? Does everyone come by car?

SG: Yes, of course Eco-Manufactory Think & Do applies to all industries. Our collaborators work according to a catalog of measures that we continuously update. Work routes and areas are continuously optimised. And everyone is encouraged to rethink their lifestyle! For example, to critically examine meat consumption, to think about the means by which one comes to work. You can switch to bicycle or even e-bike, car pooling... There have really been changes in this sense. We have tried to raise public awareness, of course habits are a powerful opponent, but I am confident that with many small steps we can improve a lot.

Why is this a concern for you?

SG: This is above all a personal concern – everyone shapes their company and their life according to their own ideas and visions. It has always been important to me to produce a good quality product and realize this vision with passion. We live in a finite world and we must do everything we can to question our lifestyle habits in times of prosperity and unbridled consumption! We can all work through our employees, children and friends, so that they acquire a broader consciousness to move together in the right direction. Let us leave the world as we found it, to the best of our knowledge and conscience – for the benefit of all!

What is your conclusion?

SG: Climate change will probably be the biggest challenge we and future generations will face. Direct effects such as drought, floods, etc. and indirect effects such as refugee flows, water distribution wars, etc. are not currently foreseeable. I think we need to tackle this great goal together. To achieve this objective, on the one hand politics must create the framework conditions and on the other hand each of us must make our own contribution. If we succeed, it will be a great opportunity for us and for future generations.

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