Actually, the Italian food industry is unable to meet the increasing demand for Made in Italy products for different reasons that result for the consumers in difficultly perceiving the real quality of the products, the sole able to guide them towards a conscious choice.
In this context, it is necessary to produce documentation able to guide markets and consumers’ selection and decisions. The ethical passport appears as an ideal instrument able to document the product and company values and enable consumers and markets to make conscious choices.
Furthermore, it is also a tool that, in a context of impartiality, accuracy and transparency, facilitates the products and companies entry on the global markets by producing further documentation than is required by the WTO-SPS agreement and bilateral international treaties.
The ethical passport is proposed as a tool for the local products valorisation at international level.
Consorzio De Alimentaria Qualitate - ItalyLead applicant
The Consortium has offers assistance and supports companies in the food industry throughout the supply chain, from primary production to administration, with the aim to integrate and coordinate the expertise, skills and knowledge by carrying out, for example on the basis of an annual program approved by the Steering Committee, activities such as the following: - Assistance and tests to verify pathogens; - Conducting tests for verification and determination of the products shelf life; - Controlling process standards; - Checking the pressure of environmental pathogens in the company and functionality elements; - Verification and documentation of the presence of pro-biotic populations in the product; - Documentation on how to secure home treatment of food; - Merchandise and nutritional profile of products; - Etc.
Federconsumatori Brescia - ItalyInitiative partner
Federconsumatori is an association created with the scope of defending and protecting consumer’s interests and rights respect to several entities such as public administration, company owners and against all forms of irregularities. The association mainly deals with bills, contracts, health protection and prevention, food security and quality, defective products, frauds.
Province of Brescia Italian Farmers Confederation - ItalyInitiative partner
Professional organization and agricultural trade union.
National Confederation of Crafts and Small and Medium Enterprises - Provincial Association of Brescia - ItalyInitiative partner
The National Confederation of Crafts and Small and Medium-sized enterprise was founded at national level in 1946 and constituted in Brescia in 1971. The Confederation associates, represents businesses and corporations craft, including consortia, cooperatives and members, small and medium-sized businesses and retirees members of CNA Retirees protecting their legitimate interests. It is an independent association representing the interests, self-entitled exclusively by its members, carrying out the principles of progress, democracy, free market supporting the special values of entrepreneurship at work, in collaboration, in solidarity. CNA achieves these objectives by relating directly with public institutions and with all the social, economic and political actors. The association participates to the challenges of industry and is committed to the national growth and harmonious development. CNA organizes more than 4.000 trade union members participating through "Unions" and "Clusters of Interest" established within the federal government. CNA represents craftsmanship in: CNEL, ICE, INPS, the National Council of Crafts, Artigiancassa, National Register of Builders, Transport Register, Register of Waste Management; in Committees and Working Groups of the Environment, Foreign Trade, Finance, Industry and Commerce, Labour and Social Security, Public Works Ministries.
National Association Directors Wholesale Markets - ItalyInitiative partner
The main activities of ANDMI concern the following: - promoting the role of agri-food and relative centers wholesale markets; - professional updating of Managers; - consultancy in the field of national and foreign agro-food wholesale markets; - Managers formation and training; - Publishing activities in partnership with institutional bodies; Cooperation with institutional bodies and protection bodies of the quality and food hygiene.
Consortium for the protection of Nostrano Valtrompia cheese - ItalyInitiative partner
The main activity of the Consortium relates to the protection of the Nostrano Valtrompia cheese.
Lombardy Region - ItalyInitiative partner
Lombardy Region is a territorial entity endowed with statutory autonomy and with own legislative and administrative functions. The main principles that guide its activities and functions are: right to education, right to health care, right to employment and valorisation of the territory. With respect to the above mentioned principles regional competences are the following: • Administrative organization (dependent entities/institutions, local police, municipal jurisdictions); • Public services (social assistance, health care, professional and handicraft education, local museums and libraries, regional transport, internal navigation); • Economic development (tourism and hotel business, regional road network, regional public works, caves, pipelines, agriculture, handicraft, mineral and thermal water); • Environment and territory, urban planning, fauna protection, hunting and fishing, woodlands and flora, soli protection, fight against pollution.
Consortium for the protection of Pecorino di Farindola cheese - ItalyInitiative partner
Consorzio di Tutela del Formaggio Pecorino di Farindola is a producers consortium for the protection, valorisation and commercialisation of the Pecorino di Farindola cheese.
Comunità Montana Valle Trompia - ItalyInitiative partner
Comunità Montana Valle Trompia is a local public body (Municipalities Union), thus it deals with typical functions and activities of such entities.
Centrale del Latte di Brescia Co. - ItalyInitiative partner
Centrale del Latte main activiy concerns milk processing to produce dairy products (yogurt, mascarpone, fresh cream).
Provincial Union of Farmers - ItalyInitiative partner
The association represents the interests of single and associated farmers which are members of trade unions, economic sections, producer associations and cooperatives. It protects the interests of the companies, coordinates the activities of trade unions, representing farmers in the various entities connected to the agriculture sector. The association provides training and information and services in order to facilitate the work of its members in managing business.
Luinese Cheese DOP Consortium - ItalyInitiative partner
The Consortium main activity concerns the protection of the Luinese DOP cheese.
Ambrosi Co. - ItalyInitiative partner
The comnpany's main activity concerns dairy production, milk collecting and processing to produce Grana Padano DOP, spun curd, Parmigiano Reggiano, sorting and packaging grated Grana Padano and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
Comunità Montana delle Valli dell’Ossola - ItalyInitiative partner
Comunità Montana della Valli dell'Ossola deals with the following activities: - Holding and supervisioning of brands Bettelmatt and Capretto Duc Vigezzino. - Technical assistance, collaboration with farms and agricultural associations in the support to the productions development.
National Federation of the Italian Veterinarians Orders - ItalyInitiative partner
The Federation was instituted with the legislative decree of the temporary Head of State n.233 of 13 September 1946 and the Head of State decree n. 221 of 5 April 1946. The main activities and mission of the Federation consist in: • supervising at national level the preservation of the veterinary profession independence and dignity; • coordinate and promote the activities of the respective Orders; • promote and support at national level, all the initiatives that facilitate the cultural progress of the members; • appoint the Federation representatives towards commissions, national or interprovincial entities and organizations; • support central authorities regarding the development and application of measures and provisions that could interest the Orders; • give indications and guidelines for solving disputes regarding the public health sector, or between the health sector and private persons or entities to which the public sector has provided or is providing professional services, in relation to payments, costs and other issues. The Federation tries to bring to the dispute conciliation, or in the case of unsuccessful agree, it gives indications regarding the dispute; • exercising disciplinary authority respect to the Orders Governing Councils’ components.
ethical passport. Quality with no limits widespread knowledge and real documentation
Actually, consumers select products on the basis of expectations (which are uncertain and undocumented) regarding food quality and safety. In order to guide markets towards acquiring original products and consumers towards conscious choices, each product would be equipped with an electronic passport containing the actual documentation relating safety, quality, nutritional characteristics, company information and descriptors supporting the animals and plants health conditions, the conduction features, the values expressed in terms of bio-protection, water and energy savings, land protection, social behavior, tradition, religious and political beliefs respect, consumers protection, etc.
This can be seen as an important breakthrough as a single document allows transferring to markets and consumers information regarding not only the products nutritional quality and food safety standards, but also information relating the company values and ethical behavior.
Micro-companies, which represent 80% of the Italian food industry, find difficult to supply Made in Italy products export because not adequately able to support products and document identity, quality and safety contents. Export of Made in Italy products is also affected by the system fragmentation formed by competing companies and a communication process not referring to real quality, but to labeling information often unnecessary or unverified, satisfying less than 10% of the potential demand of Made in Italy products. Thus, imitations market is being supplied heavily influencing international consumers, which are getting accustomed to misleading quality respect to original products (to international consumers inaccessible). Given these considerations, is necessary to reverse this trend and make consumers aware (and thus counteract imitations) promoting, enhancing and communicating on the market original products and their existing values which are actually not expressed.
Entities, companies, and organizations participating to the initiative are attesting the Ethical Passport’s impact on the agro-food sector. The primary production companies consider the Ethical Passport an important tool to operate on the market, express values so far unreported, document products and companies characteristics requested for export.
The processing companies through the Ethical Passport are able to engage businesses in the primary production issues and, in compliance with the rules required by the widespread markets, establish shared political and solidarity contribution relationships. The demand for documenting the products aspects in terms of security, quality and value is continuously growing. The impact deriving from the ethical passport on governmental organizations can be easily illustrated by the Lombardy Region which has decided to endorse, through the Ethical Passport, territorial productions starting from the milk sector.
From the adoption of the ethical passport benefit mainly companies which can take advantage from greater access to national and foreign markets, thanks to the ability to meet the information request in terms of quality, safety and ethical conduct. Consequently, food and agricultural products retailers as well as high quality caterers (which require the ethical passport relatively to the ingredients used) will benefit from an added value related to the ethical passport. The real target of the initiative through which acquire commercial success are consumers (and their associations), as reaching markets concerns the communication of values (not just products) associated with the company ethical behavior. Finally, will benefit from the ethical passport success the local economy context, given the impulse to commercialization thanks to the increased sales on the domestic market and recovery of losses (due to a decline in consumption by more than 2%) and support to export.
The initiative has started as an experience in the Brescia Province and has involved Consorzio DAQ staff (19 technicians and veterinarians supporting food companies) and agri-food companies participating as partners. Businesses operators for which the Ethical Passport was filled in (initially a few hundred) have also taken part to the initiative. Afterwards, dairy farms from other provinces of Lombardy Region (Varese, Milan) have been included, up to the adhesion of the Region to a programme that aims involving all regional dairy farms (over 8,600). Other companies and consortia operating in several regions such as Piemonte, Veneto, Emilia Romagna, the Autonomous Province of Trento, Abruzzo, Sicily are planning interventions.Other operators have been involved such as primary production companies’ managers, processing companies technical and quality managers, computer technicians (Ethical Passport electronic management), University of Brescia and research institutes.
During information collection, when approached companies appeared mistrustful. The initiative was seen as an additional bureaucratic practice. After the programme explanation and illustration through joint meetings with the involved operators, the attitude has changed and companies have recognized in the Ethical Passport an opportunity for the communication and enhancement of their characteristics and products. Diffidence has been immediately overcame and membership demands have started to grow when stickers bearing the logo of the Ethical Passport (and implying the message of adhesion to the initiative) have been placed in companies. Different was the attitude of approached consumers (during the opinion survey) who have enthusiastically welcomed such type of valorisation to them addressed, although this final form has not yet objectively started. However, this problem will be easily overcome, by the possibility to access information through the information system.
The Ethical Passport gives value to production by providing markets and consumers with the quality, safety and nutritional documentation, descriptors of the companies’ ethical behavior concerning environment protection and care, animals welness, respect for tradition, energy savings, use of water resources, and preservation of ancient species.
The communication of these actions has a high value in relation to the consistency with the current trends and the global policy that lead countries towards the adoption of policies concerning environmental careful management rewarding positive results. The quantitative evaluation of the ethical descriptors can represent a step towards boosting the improvement of environmental management, given also the eventual perspective of a production payment based on the degree of the ethical value achieved. In this context, major lending institutions would grant soft loans to companies aiming at the improvement of their ethical score.
The ethical passport, knowledge and diffusion of total quality instrument of individual products and companies that produce them, was born as an initiative to promote the products of a single Province – Brescia. Actually, the ethical passport is being spread also to other regions and provinces (Varese , Milan, Sicily, Abruzzo, etc.). Over 4,500 agro-food products included in the list of traditional products (although spread over a wide territory) were born and were been established according to common criteria and respect for the environment and local resources. Therefore, the ethical passport has been recognized as a tool for the products enhancement and was adopted in relation to knowledge concrete actions and production valorization.
Thus, the ethical passport can be considered as model to be proposed for foreign productions (not only at European level) and for the e-commerce promotion in controlled conditions, through certification and international recognition.
The ethical passport, through an information system, has an important basis for the communication strategies of the products value even on remote markets, through all the tools of modern technology ("app", website).
In particular, the dissemination strategy includes: use of communication tools such as QR, videos, etc.; promotion of workshops; presentation of the ethical passport at conferences and sector events; organization of events focused on the initiative; networking activities; publication of articles in professional journals and press.The dissemination process is aimed at creating a dialogue with beneficiaries and stakeholders, as well as to widespread information concerning good practices put in place by companies.
The ethical passport, supported by many institutions and organizations will be present at EXPO 2015 and as a model for traditional products upgrading at the Polo Tecnologico Planet Nibiru.