The organization CITOLIVA announced a set of initiatives to reduce the environmental impact of olive oil production in the “SUDOE”region, which includes Southern France, Spain and Portugal, in a conference held in the Spanish province of Jaén this week.
CITOLIVA director Cristina de Toro and Ernesto Ríos López, Assistant Director of Industrial Development and Innovation at Spain’s Ministry’s of Land and Marine Environment, were among the keynote speakers at the event. López expressed his support for the initiatives:
“They concern a product so important to the Mediterranean diet, to our institution, and that which is key to our ministry’s commitment to sustainability and reducing our environmental footprint.”
In her speech Cristina de Toro stated the main goal of CITOLIVA’s initiatives, which is to unite olive oil producers in the SUDOE region with regards to sustainable development, technological innovation and land use. By consolidating these areas of the industry and applying more ecologically efficient production methods, the organization hopes to improve SUDOE olive oil’s competitiveness in the international market.
CITOLIVA will collaborate with another organization, OiLCA, which will conduct research to determine the ecological impacts of olive oil production. The group will look at every stage of production, from seed to bottle, with the goal of establishing a standard set of procedures regarding waste management and other factors that affect the environment.
A half a dozen other organizations from the SUDOE region have agreed to join CITOLIVA’s call for sustainability. They include Centre Tecnológic de Manresa (Barcelona, Spain), Instituto Andaluz de Tecnología (Sevilla, Spain), Centro para Valorização de Residuos (Braga, Portugal), Laboratoire de Chimie AgroIndustrielle (Toulouse, France) and Associação de Olivicultores de Tras-os- Montes e Alto Douro (Mirandela, Portuga).
The entire project is expected to last two years and will have a budget of over 900,000 Euros (US$1.2M). CITOLIVA and others involved hope the project will improve industry’s image while helping to mitigate climate change through more stringent environmental policies.