In 2021, the Barilla Group continued to invest in improving its pasta, sauces, and bakery products (488 products reformulated and improved since 2010, 55 launched in 2021). The goal is to innovate and reduce the impact of production processes in terms of carbon dioxide emissions, energy, and water consumption, as well as promote sustainable supply chains and design recyclable packaging. Even more so, the Italian pasta giant has expressed its proximity to local communities, with donations of €12 million and around 2,700 tons of products. These are just a few of the highlights of the Barilla Group’s new sustainability report published on July 26th, providing the results achieved by the Parma-based company for the well-being of people, the environment, and communities.
Underpinning this commitment is a new purpose that encompasses in a few words the rationale for this way of doing business: “The joy of food for a better life”. This concept transcends good food to refer to people’s happiness and holistic well-being, which begins most of all with “taste”. All the group brands are contributing to this journey, offering not only foodstuffs but also the joy that can be taken from good food, well-made with selected ingredients.
“We want to bring joy through the products we offer to consumers, through good food, conviviality, helping to improve the lives of those who choose our products and the world around us,” said Claudio Colzani, CEO of the Barilla Group. “In the coming months, this journey will lead us to set clear, measurable objectives towards sustainable development. We will continue to invest in our supply chains, by introducing principles of regenerative agriculture, to further reduce our environmental impact in terms of carbon dioxide emissions and water consumption, and to produce recyclable packaging.”
LOW ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT
Barilla is present in over 100 countries, both with its brands and 30 factories (15 in Italy and 15 abroad). In 2021, these plants produced over two million tons of food. According to the sustainability report, products and processes are increasingly innovative and environmentally friendly. Overall, since 2010 and per ton of finished product, greenhouse gas emissions have decreased by -31% and water consumption by -18%. In just over 10 years, the investments made have resulted in cuts in emissions that would equate to seven car journeys between the Earth and the Sun, and a quantity of water sufficient to fill 222 Olympic swimming pools.
Even more so, 64% of the electricity purchased comes from renewable sources with certificates of guarantee of origin, and over 91% of the waste produced has been sent for recycling and energy recovery. Currently, 95% of Barilla Group products have a low environmental impact. A further move in this direction is the total neutralization of greenhouse gas emissions by the Wasa, Gran Cereale, Harrys, and Mulino Bianco brands. Mulino Bianco also only uses energy from renewable sources such as water, sun, and wind, while trigeneration systems in pasta factories – to produce their own electricity, heat, and cooling – are already in operation at the plants in Parma and Marcianise (Caserta province) and under construction at Muggia (Trieste province).
Barilla’s commitment to reducing the environmental impact of packaging also continues despite a difficult year for the supply of raw materials in this field. In Italy, the group has achieved 100% of packaging designed to be recyclable (99.7% globally), and the company only uses paper and cardboard from responsibly managed forests.
70% RAW MATERIALS PURCHASED RESPONSIBLY
2021 was a key year for the development of Barilla’s sustainable agriculture projects. About 70% of strategic raw materials (durum wheat, common wheat, rye, tomatoes, basil, cocoa, and vegetable oils) are being purchased responsibly, with an +11% increase, confirming that sustainable supply chains are also the most resilient. About 10,000 companies are involved in sustainable agriculture projects, which guarantee the quality of the raw materials purchased by Barilla and enable farmers to plan their work with greater confidence.
The three standards for the sustainable cultivation of durum wheat and common wheat (the Ten Commandments for Sustainable Cultivation of Quality Durum Wheat, Carta del Mulino, and Harrys Charter) were added to in 2021 by the Carta del Basilico (‘Basil Charter’), which guarantees social and environmental sustainability, resulting in an Italian and ISCC PLUS-certified supply chain of a key ingredient in Barilla ready-made sauces and pesto.
Like basil, tomatoes are also grown near the manufacturing sites where possible, to minimize the time between product harvesting and processing. Support for local agriculture also affects pasta, in which Barilla is a world leader in sales. 90% of durum wheat, the key ingredient in all the Group’s pasta brands, is purchased on the local market, and 47% via cultivation contracts.
68 PRODUCTS LAUNCHED OR REFORMULATED
Since 2010, Barilla has reformulated the nutritional values of 488 products, reducing fat, saturated fat, salt, and/or sugar content and increasing fiber content. Palm oil-free since 2016, last year the company launched onto the market 55 new products that explain its way of doing business: no added sugar, rich in fiber, wholewheat, based on legumes or in single-serve packs. A few months ago, the new “Al Bronzo-Lavorazione Grezza” pasta (‘bronze-die rough-cut’) was launched in Italy, inspired by traditional drawing methods and based on a mixture of fine, 100% Italian grains. Even more so is the new Barilla Pesto range, with a 100% recyclable jar and basil from sustainable agriculture, Parmigiano Reggiano PDO, and other distinctively Italian ingredients.
Sustainability is also about paying attention to people and local communities. Barilla has confirmed its tangible commitment by implementing a series of solidarity initiatives in the countries where it operates. A total of €12 million has been invested and around 2,700 tons of products have been donated, to improve access to food for more and more people, enhance inclusion, and support local development.
INTERNATIONAL AWARDS FOR COMMITMENT TO D&I
In 2021, Barilla was also the first Italian company to win the “Catalyst Award”, for its efforts to enhance women’s leadership in the workplace and increase the inclusion of all Barilla employees worldwide. To date, 40% of Barilla executives and managers are women, and since 2020, the group has achieved gender pay equality for all its employees worldwide. Women and men are paid equally for the same roles and duties.
Barilla was also one of the first Italian companies to set itself various inclusion goals, such as the formalization of flexible working at all its sites. It was the first company in Italy to meet the UN standards of conduct against LGBTI+ discrimination in the workplace.