How 'absurd': The pure Swiss mountain air shipped to Asia's polluted cities
Switzerland is a notoriously expensive country and its mountain air comes at a steep price as well, especially when it's shipped halfway across the world to people living in Asia's polluted cities. But the company behind the canned mountain air has defended its product.
Canned spray containing air from the Swiss mountains received on Wednesday the “Devil's Stone” Award from Alpine Initiative, an association working to counteract the polluting effects of traffic and transportation.
The "Devil's Stone” is awarded for the “most absurd freight”.
Le gagnant du prix du transport absurde 2019 est remis aux bouteilles d’air des Alpes de Swiss Air Deluxe. Plus de 7 milles personnes ont pris par au vote. https://t.co/whDyvdtXFo pic.twitter.com/B96TReVDC8— Alpen-Initiative (@alpeninitiative) October 2, 2019
The association took issue with the fact that the spray, manufactured by the Zurich-based Swiss Air Deluxe, is shipped mainly to Asia, some 20,000 kilometres away from Switzerland, generating excessive pollution.
“L'air des Alpes en spray de la société zurichoise Swiss Air Deluxe a reçu mercredi la peu enviable «Pierre du diable» attribuée par l'Initiative des Alpes, qui distingue les transports les plus absurdes.” https://t.co/WwP1KNvdW7— desalpes (@alpinetomorrows) October 2, 2019
“Selling Alpine air as a consumer good is in itself shocking. Transporting these aluminium cans that contain just wind causes CO2 emissions and is totally useless”, Jon Pult, Alpine Initiative’s president, said on Wednesday in Zurich.
Swiss Air Deluxe’s director, Markus Klinkmüller, was present for the award ceremony, but said he did not deserve such a dubious distinction. “We take advantage of unused spaces on transport boats when they return to Asia, so our ecological footprint is close to zero”, he said.
We didn't deserved it...but yes we won ??— swiss-air-deluxe (@SwissAirDeluxe) October 2, 2019
The company also defended itself on Twitter.
"You call it nonsense because you can breath #swiss #mountain #air regularly. Our valuable customers in polluted areas have a different perspective. And beside that the calculations on CO2 emissions is not accurate as we take advantage of overcapacities on the vessels to Asia," read the tweet.
You call it nonsense because you can breath #swiss #mountain #air regularly. Our valuable customers in polluted areas have a different perspective. And beside that the calculations on CO2 emissions is not accurate as we take advantage of overcapacities on the vessels to Asia— swiss-air-deluxe (@SwissAirDeluxe) October 2, 2019
This product, which sells for CHF 20 (18) a bottle, is advertised on the company’s website as “9 litres of pure Swiss mountain air collected at an altitude of 3000 meters”.
It contains 350 puffs and includes an inhalation mask.
The company’s newest product is the “Swiss Virgin” spray, promoted as “the Alpine air enriched with the lovely smell of real Swiss virgins living in the mountains.” The spray sells for CHF 45 and contains a “pair of sexy underwear” inside the can.
Alpine Initiative hope the company will have a rethink about its products after picking up the award.
"With these awards, the Alpine Initiative wants to encourage economic players to think about their supply to reduce freight," said the president Jon Pult.
"To limit CO2 emissions, it is necessary to transport in better ways but also less. The climate emergency calls for changes in behavior. Renouncing goods that involve significant transportation while there are local alternatives must become a reflex," he said.