This year the Earth Overshoot Day, the day when humanity’s annual demand on nature exceeds what Earth’s ecosystems can renew in that year, fell on August 1st, the earliest it has ever been. Every 7 years, about 30 days of self-sufficiency in the planet are lost. Following the proposals of Coldiretti, Assosementi, BCFN Foundation and the commitment of our supply agri-food chain for a lighter ecological footprint.

The Earth Overshoot Day

Every year, on a precise date that is calculated on the basis of a specific index, humanity consumes a year’s worth of the planet’s natural resources and starts using resources that it can no longer replace. This year, the day of no return fell on August 1st and for the next 5 months we will drain the earth’s savings account aggravating our ecological debt. The Earth Overshoot Day was born in 2006. It comes from the New Economics Foundation (NEF), a UK-based think tank and is calculated each year by Global Footprint Network, a California-based environmental research organisation working to advance sustainability through use of the Ecological Footprint. The overshoot began in the 1970 (December, 29th). Since then, the day at which humanity has busted its annual planetary budget has moved forward. In less than 50 years the times of self-sufficiency of the Planet have been reduced to 7 months/year and to meet the current needs of natural resources we are exploiting the equivalent of 1.7 Earths. “We are borrowing the Earth’s future resources to operate in the present, in just over fifty years we would risk starting the year and having already exhausted everything available to us – stated Marta Antonelli, Research Programme Manager of the BCFN Foundation (Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition – a center for food sustainability) that added – “If we want to hit the 17 aims of the UN 2030 Agenda we must adopt a food culture that will lead us to reward sustainable diets, like the Mediterranean one, which proposes food systems that have less impact on the environment, especially considering that today the demand for food represents 26% of the global ecological footprint “. Essentially, the agri-food sector is one of the main areas in which it is necessary to optimize the use of natural resources, increasing the consumption of fruit, vegetables (even better if organic and 0 km), cereals and dried fruits, limiting animal proteins and adopting anti-waste practices (use of leftovers, attention to expiry dates, request of the Family Bag in the restaurant). According to a survey by Coldiretti, these habits are adopted by 3 Italians out of 4, while in terms of energy efficiency, urban development and the exploitation of resources there is still much to be done. Assosementi, the Italian Seed Association, suggests to rethink about the production and consumption’s patterns considering the innovation as a fundamental support. “A great opportunity has hardly lost. The NBTs could allow to accelerate the timing of the search in order to obtain more productive varieties (with a consequent reduction in the amount of soil needed to obtain the yields current), more tolerant to water stress (with, in perspective, a reduction of water resources used in irrigation), more resistant to pathogens (and therefore less demanding in terms of pesticides)”, as stated Alberto Lipparini , the General Secretary of Assosementi, commenting on the sentence of the European Court of Justice that has included the NBTs in the same directive that regulates GMOs.

The Commitment Of Our Agri-food Supply Chain

The attention to the environment and to the saving of natural resources is a common denominator, shared by all the realities of our agri-food supply chain, which is identified in the Italian Made policy, a model of social and environmental sustainability. In recent times, the commitment has been further increased with adopting technological solutions and favouring production choices coherent with this philosophy. Among the most recent, we mention the agreement signed by Bonifiche Ferraresi with Coldiretti, the A2A Group, Snam and GSE companies, with the involvement of agricultural and industrial companies, of Italian Municipalities, for the recovery of agricultural waste and the production of green methane gas intended for transport. Regarding Bonifiche Ferraresi, it has undertaken to recover organic waste derived from crops and livestock to create plants for the distribution of agricultural biomethane in Italy with the aim of supplying public transport but also private cars or tractors used for work in the fields. Another important intervention is concerned to the increase of organic farming. This is a sector that is no just a marketing buzzword or a niche market, as shown by the growth data: vegetables (+ 11.5%), fruit (+ 18.3%), wine (+ 109.9%), fresh meat (+ 65.2%), processed meat (+ 35.4%), oils and vegetable fats (+ 41.1%). The success of the new line of organic pasta produced by Ghigi pasta factory for Conad stores is the proof of the positive trend of organic sector.