Launch of the Barilla agriBosco, where sustainable agriculture coexists with nature, to explain what lies beneath all the Parma-based company’s products
19 November 2021
What lies beneath a Barilla biscuit, snack or pack of pasta? The ingredients are different but the same production strategy and sustainable approach will be there for all to see from 2022 in a special place, the Barilla agriBosco. A walk in the agriBosco will offer an appreciation of what Barilla considers to be its role in the world, highlighting high-quality, environment-friendly ingredients and raw materials. There will be fields of sunflowers (which remind us of the choice to eliminate palm oil, for reasons related to the nutritional improvement of the products), fields of common wheat with flowers and houses for bees and other pollinating insects (which expound the principles and values of the “Carta del Mulino”). There will also be fields of durum wheat for pasta, sustainably cultivated by Barilla in the name of precision agriculture, with crop rotations to minimize soil consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
In telling the story of Barilla’s sustainability strategy – which takes from nature what the company needs to produce its products, and aims to return just as much value to nature, agricultural land will coexist in the agriBosco and ‘make its own world’ with a wood consisting of almost 3,000 species of native trees split between rows and rewooded areas. The intention is to beautify the landscape and restore its lost biodiversity. And there's more. Green fields and nature trails – making this a unique project – will result in the addition of another exciting factor to the journey that Barilla has long been taking towards sustainability. It will be a place where nature’s beauty can be celebrated.
With an area of 23 hectares (more than 30 football fields) of land that was until recently barren and deserted, the agriBosco project is not only an environmental redevelopment initiative; it is also a gesture of Barilla people’s love for nature, a meeting place between agriculture, animals and plants, to be handed down to future generations.
Announced on National Tree Day in Italy (November 21st), the creation of the agriBosco has been made possible by the collaboration between Barilla and two authoritative partners: Legambiente – the environmental association that has for over 40 years been promoting sustainable development projects and protection of the land; and AzzeroCO2, which has run dozens of forestation projects in Italy to mitigate environmental impact and offset emissions. In the meantime, a decision has been made on which types of trees will be grown in the agriBosco, in tandem with the KilometroVerdeParma Forest Consortium.
According to AzzeroCO2 estimates, the Barilla agriBosco will absorb over 13 tons of CO2 every year for the next century. To give an idea, 13 tons of CO2 is a similar quantity of emissions to a medium-sized car circumnavigating the Equator over 100 times, for example.
Work to redevelop and rewood the area began in spring 2021. Following checks and archaeological surveys, 1,070 forest plants and 200 ready-effect species were planted in April. And now, with the laying of almost another 1,600 trees and shrubs, the total rewooded area will cover over 54,000 m2.
The redeveloped area will be a meeting place open to all, a green space for the local community and for Barilla’s people. It will be inaugurated in spring 2022 as a venue for recreational and social activities, perhaps with the option of sharing the company’s vegetable patches and orchards. The agriBosco will also be an educational park for schools, associations and the voluntary sector, with thematic itineraries based on sustainable agriculture, beekeeping, the protection of biodiversity and the virtuous management of the water cycle. The project is therefore a journey in progress, which will grow and develop over the years, on stimulus that will also come from Barilla’s people. For years, they have been committed to promoting positive change at all levels of the organization and beyond. Barilla’s people already play an active role in a project that has been created close to the company’s headquarters, and will ideally bring together every one of the Group’s 8,400 employees. For example, one of the first contributions in this regard was the design of pathways and itineraries open to all with no barriers, which will make the agriBosco an inclusive place, open to diversity.
The idea behind the agriBosco originated from other projects whereby the Barilla Group has substantiated its commitment to nature and the environment: the reduction of energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions from its products and processes; the reforestation and protection of 6 Italian wooded areas with Gran Cereale; the use of virgin fiber from responsibly managed forests for cardboard packaging for Barilla pasta; the “Carta del Mulino” with the sustainable cultivation of common wheat, the protection of biodiversity and pollinating insects; and the Carbon Neutrality projects with Gran Cereale, Mulino Bianco, Wasa and Harrys, to name but a few.
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