WOMEN’S FORUM SPECIAL REPORTS
An ongoing series of articles highlighting upcoming topics and topical outcomes from Women’s Forum events around the world
Women's Forum Italy: Interview
Guido Barilla, Chairman, Barilla Group:"This breakthrough research had a big impact on the company’s strategy"
Women’s Forum: Your company, Barilla, is an iconic ambassador of Italian cuisine. What issues are you facing regarding sustainability? What is your policy on sustainability?
"Barilla’s 138 – year history is rich in events, always striving to improve by refining products, creating new ones, modernizing our production technologies and enhancing the life of our collaborators and the community which surrounds us.
In 2009 we created the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition (BCFN) to look closely at the world’s big food and nutrition topics. The research has been a major inspiration, leading Barilla three years ago to adopt a strategy that focuses on making food that is not only good for people, but also for the planet. In 2012, the BCFN developed the double food and environment pyramid: scientific evidence shows that food that should be eaten often as part of a healthy diet – fruits, vegetables and cereals – is also the food that has a lower environment impact. In other words, food whose production uses less of the planet’s resources (water, greenhouses gases, land surface).
This breakthrough research had a big impact on the company’s strategy, which aims to grow the business on the lower part of the double pyramid. We’ve recently added a third pillar in our model for responsible growth: “Good for the communities” – aimed at ensuring the wellbeing of the communities in which we operate.
Our priorities for the next few years are clear. We want to promote people’s wellbeing through our offer, also encouraging the adoption of sustainable diets: good for people and for the environment in which we live. Finally, we want to favor cultivation methods of raw materials that reduce environmental impact and ensure the quality of the harvests and the development of local agriculture."
Women’s Forum: Why are you present at the Women’s Forum Italy 2015?
"The Women’s Forum is an extraordinary opportunity to discuss on major social and economic issues, with great attention on women’s views and voices.
Women’s Forum themes are closely related to BCFN Foundation studies. For example, BCFN has recently given great attention of researches concerning women and agriculture: if women had access to the same productive resources as men in developing countries, yields in agriculture could increase by up to 30%. Women play a fundamental role in agriculture, but are often forced to deal with limitations that reduce productivity. Among the main reasons for this situation is the flood of financial speculation on food products and agricultural lands, like, for example, land grabbing, problems for which we most urgently need to find a solution.
All these issues are dealt with in the Milan Protocol, that was put forward by the BCFN in 2014. The Protocol was endorsed by Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi in November 2014 and has played a key role in the crafting of the Milan charter, which aims to be the main legacy of Expo 2015."
Biography of Guido Maria Barilla, Chairman, BARILLA G. & R. F.LLI S.P.A.
After studying Philosophy, he began his career in 1982 with a two year experience abroad in the Sales Department at Barilla France, a subsidiary of the Barilla Group. Following his European training, he worked at several food companies in the United States. Once he returned to Parma, headquarter of the Barilla Group, he became an executive at the company in July 1986 and was mainly responsible for the Group’s international expansion. In the same year, he was appointed as a member of the Board of Directors of Barilla G. & R. F.lli S.p.A., and was then named Vice Chairman in May 1988. Following his father’s death, in October 1993, he became Chairman of the Board of Directors of Barilla G. e R. F.lli S.p.A. and Group Chairman as of March 2003. In 2009, he became Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition (BCFN), currently the BCFN Foundation.
Guido Barilla, Chairman of BARILLA G. & R. F.LLI S.P.A., is a speaker at the Women's Forum Italy 2015 on the theme "Our visions for a better agricultural value chain".