Agri-food industry: At the start EU project on eco-innovation to boost environmental sustainability


Reduction of the environmental footprint and implementation of green innovation along the whole agri-food supply chain: these are the main objectives of the European project PEFMED, coordinated by ENEA, which has been officially launched today. Co-founded with about 2 million euro by the European Commission in the frame of the Interreg MED Transnational Cooperation Programme. PEFMED[1] is an industrial eco-innovation initiative in the Mediterranean basin, also supported by the Italian Ministry of the Environment and participated by seven European partners from Spain, France, Slovenia, Portugal and Greece.

Agricoltur productsThanks to PEFMED we will contribute to make the European agri-food market greener, more innovative and transparent by means of a common environmental certification, which aims at promoting both the commercialisation of “green” products in Europe and increasing the consumers’ trust in the eco-labels accompanying them”, said Caterina Rinaldi, ENEA researcher and project coordinator.

ENEA, the Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and a Sustainable Economic Development, will closely collaborate with Federalimentare (Federation of the Italian Food & Drink Industry), which will manage the activities of six important European Food & Drink Federations (ANIA, FIAB, FIPA, SEVT, CCIS CAFE). Federalimentare will also lead the dissemination actions as well as the technology transfer to the SMEs and the pilot actions “on the field”, in order to reduce the environmental footprint in the agri-food supply chain. For example, in Italy, the related turnover is more than 130 billion euro – 8% of the Country’s GDP – involving about 7.000 companies of the sector.

PEFMED is an ambitious project in which we will be deeply involved, in close collaboration with other important European partners, under the scientific leadership of ENEA”, said Luigi Scordamaglia, President of Federalimentare.Nowadays the Agri-Food industry, through an assumption of ongoing responsibility, is placing sustainability at the heart of their strategies: valorisation of raw materials, reduction of water consumption (up to 70% from the '90s to the present day, on a 40% European average), decreased energy impact (30% reduction in consumption in 20 years), packaging optimization, fight against waste are some of the actions put in place". Last but not least "With this background, the Federation looks with interest at these initiatives promoting 'greening' and systemic interventions in the food chain, together with the market uptake of eco-innovative models ".

PEFMED will apply experimentally the "Product Environmental Footprint" methodology, drawn up by the European Commission, integrating it with territorial and socio-economic indicators, in order to measure the environmental impact (climate change, reduction of the ozone layer, depletion of water resources, land use, eco-toxicity) of a sample of about 100 companies located in nine European territorial districts. In Italy, for example, some clusters in Apulia and Lombardy were identified. This method takes into account the impacts of a product throughout its life cycle, from cultivation of raw materials, through processing, transport and use, to disposal and recycling. In addition, from the analysis of the stress tests it would be possible to get useful information to classify food products according to their best environmental performance, encouraging companies to innovate in key green production processes while ensuring full respect of local food traditions.


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Or contact:

Caterina Rinaldi, ENEA Department of Sustainability of Productive and Territorial Systems -

Maurizio Notarfonso, FEDERALIMENTARE SERVIZI – Head EU Projects Management,


[1] Uptake of the Product Environmental Footprint across the MED agrofood regional productive systems to enhance innovation and market value

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