Friday, April 15, 2016

Project Post 3 - The Environmental Impacts of your Meal

My meal discussed in the previous post was Chicken Alfredo; which can be made in a variety of different ways, but I would like to concentrate on the two main ingredients necessary to successfully make any of the Alfredo plates. Fettuccini Pasta and Alfredo Sauce are essential for any rendering of this particular Italian Cuisine and both ingredients can be found and bought at your local grocery store.

The fettuccini pasta and alfredo sauce that I typically purchase are made by an Italian Family Owned Food Company by the name of Barilla. Barilla was founded in 1877 by Pietro Barilla in Parma, Italy and has since been operated and owned by his descendants; currently Guido, Luca, and Paolo Barilla (great-great-grandchildren of Pietro Barilla).

Throughout the years, Barilla has expanded its product, development, and networks across the globe and is now an international group present in more than 100 countries. In fact, Barilla is “a world leader in the markets of pasta and ready–to–use sauces in continental Europe, bakery products in Italy and crispbread in Scandinavia, the Barilla Group is recognized worldwide as a symbol of Italian know–how.”

Least to say, Barilla knows exactly how Italian pasta and sauces ought to be made. With further research, I found that fettuccini pasta is made from flat sheets of pasta cut into ribbon-shaped strands (known as "fettucce") and produced by Semolina (ground from Durum wheat grains) and purified water. Alfredo Sauce is made with high-quality ingredients like real Parmesan and Romano cheese and cream.

The Barilla company, known for having such a strong internationalization network, gets its ingredients (Durum wheat, Parmesan and Romano chess, and cream) from farmers and plants all around the world, but attempts to conduct business locally to help reduce the amount of CO₂ emissions dispersed into the atmosphere. The attached map designates which ingredients are purchased from which country, as well as, where the Barilla company produces their products. As you can see, the Barilla company conducts business all over the globe, but more importantly, they have placed their plants in precise locations to save money, electricity, water, resources, and reduce CO₂ emissions. An additional attached photo shows the amount of Durum Wheat that was purchased locally (per country) by the Barilla Company in 2014.

Though every company no matter how small will have environmental impacts associated with the production of their ingredients, the Barilla company has made a strong effort in minimizing emissions and consumption of resources. I have attached two additional photos that depict the amount of area that regenerate resources used and absorb the generated emissions. In addition, it illustrates the total impact the Barilla company has on climate change and the total amount of water resources that are consumed.

Comparable to other companies, Barilla has been extremely successful in its efforts; in fact, in 2014, there was an average of 17 kg of waste per ton of product used; of which approximately 95% went for recovery/recycling operations. In December 2012, Barilla received the “Lean and Green” prize: an international project of the “Foundation for Sustainable Development” which supports logistics companies in the definition of a plan to check pollution and expenditure, certifies their validity as a third party, and monitors them through a series of maintenance audits. Also, on November 15, 2012, Barilla signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Food Bank Foundation; which guarantees their involvement in donating all surplus product from Italian factories to charitable institutions of the Food Bank Network. Lastly, the Barilla company has successfully recycled 98% of their packaging resources, implemented a wastewater treatment plan (which significantly reduces their impact before they are discharged into sewers or surface waters), and has reduced water consumption by 20%, energy consumption by 5%, and CO2 emissions by 20% per ton/product companywide.

From the field to raw materials, to plants and mills, to transportation and distribution, to people (both locally and globally); Barilla has impacted our water, environment, atmosphere, climate, and so forth. However, unlike many other companies, Barilla has made it their mission to situate their ethics on the environmental pyramid and guarantee a product life cycle that “respects people and the planet”.

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