` Italy’s Farchioni Becomes First Major Olive Oil Company to Receive Sustainability Certification - Olive Oil Times

Italy’s Farchioni Becomes First Major Olive Oil Company to Receive Sustainability Certification

Jan 10, 2022 1:19 PM EST
Paolo DeAndreis

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Farchioni Olii, one of the largest Italian olive oil pro­duc­ers, has become the first to have its sus­tain­abil­ity report based on the stan­dards set by the United Nations cer­ti­fied.

Every acces­si­ble resource rep­re­sents a cost for us and for the envi­ron­ment. They can­not be wasted,” Marco Farchioni, the company’s export man­ager, told Olive Oil Times.

We hope that after our ini­tia­tive, other com­pa­nies will fol­low suit.- Marco Farchioni, export man­ager, Farchioni Olii

According to Farchioni, sus­tain­abil­ity should not be seen as an inno­va­tion, but part of Italy’s rich olive oil-pro­duc­ing tra­di­tion.

The sus­tain­abil­ity report helps us under­stand if our work improves or does not improve the envi­ron­ment,” he added.

See Also: Italy Implements European Law Prohibiting Sale of EVOO Below Cost

The move comes as part of an increas­ing trend of large food pro­duc­ers in many coun­tries pub­lish­ing their own sus­tain­abil­ity reports.

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Most of these reports are dri­ven by the cur­rent reg­u­la­tions and the grow­ing atten­tion con­sumers show for sus­tain­able food.

A recent sur­vey con­ducted on 14,000 con­sumers in 18 coun­tries by the United States-based Kerry Group showed that 49 per­cent of global con­sumers con­sider sus­tain­abil­ity when buy­ing food and drinks.

While 84 per­cent of con­sumers believe that every­one can con­tribute to improv­ing sus­tain­abil­ity, three-quar­ters of those sur­veyed said com­pa­nies have the largest share of the respon­si­bil­ity.

Farchioni’s olive groves cover 661 hectares and rep­re­sent the largest part of its almost one mil­lion plants. The com­pany mostly grows Favolosa olives.

Favolosa is a mod­ern cul­ti­var, con­ceived to be Xylella-resis­tant,” Farchioni said. It offers an excel­lent bal­ance between qual­ity and yields, and boasts a unique fla­vor.”

Still, about 20 per­cent of our olives come from tra­di­tional cul­ti­vars which are also needed to fos­ter cul­ture and bio­di­ver­sity in our ter­ri­tory,” he added.

Among the high­lights of the report is the company’s efforts to imple­ment energy-sav­ing and renew­able energy solu­tions. The com­pany believes that it could reach sus­tain­able self-suf­fi­ciency using solar energy and hydro­gen power.

We have invested in solar energy and we are cur­rently study­ing the fea­si­bil­ity of a hydro­gen power plant,” Farchioni said. We are also devel­op­ing a smart grid, which should bring us towards energy self-suf­fi­ciency.”

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Marco Farchioni

The key to obtain­ing the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion is an inte­grated field-to-field” approach, Farchioni said, which spans farm­ing oper­a­tions to food pro­duc­tion projects. One of the company’s goals is to make it eas­ier for con­sumers to recy­cle the pack­ag­ing con­tain­ers.

Most prod­ucts are pre­served in com­pletely-recy­cled glass bot­tles as both recy­cling of mate­ri­als and lim­its to the vol­umes of new mate­ri­als [in the pro­duc­tion chain] are essen­tial for a con­stant reduc­tion of the envi­ron­men­tal impact,” he said.

While most con­sumers focus on the envi­ron­men­tal por­tion of food sus­tain­abil­ity, cur­rent European reg­u­la­tions also con­sider many other fac­tors, includ­ing energy-sav­ing or worker health and safety. Farchioni Olii was cer­ti­fied in all of these aspects.

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According to Farchioni, which has 234 employ­ees, a prime exam­ple of sus­tain­able worker safety comes in the form of its Covid-19 emer­gency man­age­ment.

The com­pany uses smart’ work­ing sched­ules for its employ­ees. In August 2020, work­ers were given a spe­cial smart­watch. According to a com­pany, the smart­watch mea­sures body tem­per­a­ture to warn the user if it exceeds 37.5 ºC (demon­strat­ing that the wearer has a fever), and whether the wearer gets too close to the smart­watch of another employee.

Thanks to an agree­ment with a local lab­o­ra­tory, all Farchioni employ­ees have also been able to access free Covid-19 tests since October 2020. Partially as a result of these mea­sures, no Covid-19 out­breaks have been reported at the com­pany.

Farchioni said that the com­pany fol­lowed the 17 sus­tain­able devel­op­ment goals set out by the United Nations in 2016 while com­pil­ing the report.

See Also: The Best Italian Olive Oils

According to the U.N., these goals, rec­og­nize that end­ing poverty and other depri­va­tions must go hand-in-hand with strate­gies that improve health and edu­ca­tion, reduce inequal­ity, and spur eco­nomic growth, all while tack­ling cli­mate change and work­ing to pre­serve our oceans and forests.”

Farchioni Olii’s sus­tain­abil­ity report was ver­i­fied by BDO Italia, which based its analy­sis on the International Standard on Assurance Engagements (ISAE 3000).

The debate on how to raise con­sumers’ and indus­try aware­ness of the impor­tance of sus­tain­abil­ity remains open.

New solu­tions include pro­pos­als for front-of-pack label­ing sys­tems, such as Planet-Score, that quickly allow con­sumers to iden­tify the most sus­tain­able prod­ucts. Others, such as the Latis data­base, include sus­tain­abil­ity scores in their met­rics to help pro­duc­ers pro­duce food with an improved sus­tain­abil­ity pro­file.

Still, sus­tain­abil­ity is a com­plex and wide con­cept that is not always fully under­stood by con­sumers.

According to a recent sur­vey con­ducted by the European Consumer Organization, con­sumers mostly con­sider food sus­tain­able on the basis of its impact on the envi­ron­ment or the use of pes­ti­cides.

We hope that after our ini­tia­tive, other com­pa­nies will fol­low suit,” Farchioni con­cluded. That would be very pos­i­tive. The whole world of food is now focus­ing on and bet­ter under­stand­ing sus­tain­abil­ity both in terms of costs and needs. It is less and less a cost and more and more a resource.”





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