A Sustainability Plan will guide company development and growth in the coming years
Constant investments in research, development and in the ESG area with more than 19 active projects, digital transformation with around 5 million euros a year invested in new technologies and the definition of a Sustainability Plan which will guide company development and growth in the coming years years. These are the ingredients underlying the performance of Salov, an industrial group among the main global players in the oil sector, owner of the historic brands Filippo Berio and Sagra, in terms of business and sustainability recorded in the Sustainability Report for the year 2022. The report, certified by Sgs, world leader in inspection and certification services, documents the most significant events, the results achieved and Salov’s objectives in terms of environmental, social and economic sustainability.
GROWTH DESPITE TURBULENCE – 2022 was characterized by a series of critical issues. The negative year for the olive harvest in the Mediterranean countries has led to a surge in the costs of olive oils which constitute Salov’s core business. Furthermore, the outbreak of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict triggered a spiral of repercussions on energy costs, logistics, packaging materials and above all on the supply of raw materials in seed oils, in particular sunflower oil. Salov reacted to the complexity of the scenario promptly, compactly and effectively, confirming in 2022 the record sales volumes established in the previous two years and increasing the annual turnover also due to inflation. The problems, however, have not impacted investments in over 19 ongoing projects involving all areas: implementation of the quality and properties of the oil, industrial and digital development, environmental attention, progress in sustainable agronomic projects, growth and strengthening of the human capital and the relationship with the territory.
THE NUMBERS – In 2022 Salov, present with its brands and products in 75 countries around the world, achieved oil sales of approximately 120 million liters generating a consolidated turnover of 491 million euros; approximately 5 million euros invested in new technological installations and 1.5 million euros in digitalisation in the context of the industrial enhancement and efficiency projects that the company is carrying out in the Massarosa (LU) plant; almost half of the expenditure (44%) for the purchase of raw materials and materials is directed towards local suppliers; in the procurement of raw materials, the certified supply chains for the production of Evo oils under the Filippo Berio Metodo Berio and Filippo Berio Sustainable Select brands have risen to 12, the new line launched in 2022 on the US market which replicates the pillars of the Berio Method, i.e. integrated agriculture , total traceability (from the field to the bottle), compliance with chemical-physical parameters that are more stringent than those required by law and certification by a third party (Sgs).
Furthermore: in the purchase of packaging materials, the path towards the ever-wider adoption of recycled materials continued (in 2022, in fact, the share of recycled materials was equal to 46.5%, with over 80% of the glass used coming from the post-consumer recycling chain. Salov has also favored the purchase of recycled PET, R-Pet, instead of virgin PET. The paper used for packaging and labels comes from suppliers with FSC certification) ; the group’s employees rose to 314 (11 more than in 2021).
Compared to 2021 there have also been improvements in the various Environmental and Social areas: -3.4% in energy consumption thanks also to the trigeneration plant which, despite the difficult year, allowed Salov to independently produce 41% of the own annual energy needs; -8.6% in total water withdrawal, which in 2022 amounted to 145 ML; -6.7% in direct emissions of climate-changing gases (Scope 1); -5.0% in total waste production (in non-hazardous waste, which represents 97% of the total, the reduction was 6.4%); the hours of training provided more than doubled (2,558 hours vs 1,199 in 2021). In total Salov contributed to 14 out of 17 of the UN SDGs (United Nations Sustainable Development Goals).
RESEARCH AND INNOVATION – The activities developed in collaboration with Universities and Research Institutions represent a fundamental and distinctive asset in the strategic vision of sustainability for Salov. The projects are of various nature: industrial, i.e. linked to the improvement of production systems; agronomic, for the development of increasingly less impactful olive growing; sensorial, to improve the quality of the oil and its perception. The main research projects developed by Salov in 2021/22 were: Long Life Oil, co-financed by the Tuscany Region, the project is aimed at identifying technological solutions capable of prolonging the organoleptic characteristics of olive oil over time; Enzymatic degumming, a project concerning the seed oil refining process and aimed at replacing some chemical reagents with natural enzymes, awarded at the Grocery&Consumi Awards in the ‘Best sustainable initiative in the production sector’ category at Cibus Connecting 2023.
For agronomic projects, the key role played by Villa Filippo Berio must be considered, a true open-air laboratory in which, in collaboration with the Cnr – Ibe and other Italian and foreign universities, projects relating to new agricultural techniques are carried out precision, sustainable agriculture, enhancement of biodiversity and tests on cultivars resistant to Verticillium, a fungus that affects the olive tree. Villa Filippo Berio also hosts the activities relating to Life Resilience, a European project aimed at developing cultivation techniques and genotypes of productive plants capable of combating the pathogenic bacterium Xylella Fastidiosa. The most important sensorial project of 2022, which still continues today, is the Zhaw Project, launched in collaboration with the University of Applied Sciences – Institute for Food and Beverage Innovation Zhaw (Zurich), focused on a specific characteristic of extra virgin olive oil olive: harmony, i.e. the degree of balance between the intensity of the different positive notes present in an oil. The project has already led to the creation of a specific blend and continuous research activities are underway which pay attention to the harmony of all Salov EVO oils.
TOWARDS AN ADVANCED SUSTAINABILITY PLAN – Consistent with the company philosophy of continuous improvement, during 2022 Salov carried out an assessment activity, carried out in collaboration with an independent external body, with the aim of evaluating and measuring its control on sustainability issues sustainability. The activity laid the foundations for the definition of a Sustainability Plan that will guide Salov’s development and growth in the coming years. The cornerstones in the drafting of the Plan have been identified in 4 pillars of Sustainability which are: control of the supply chain; quality, research and innovation; human capital development and responsible communication.
“We have many of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals at heart. Certainly those linked to food security, sustainable economic growth, fair and responsible industrial innovation and, in general, sustainable production and consumption models are those that involve us and characterize more because they are inherent to our business – declared Fabio Maccari, CEO of Salov Spa – In the company we firmly believe in the need for continuous improvement and from this it follows that there is still a long way to go. We have over 150 years of history with the Filippo Berio brand and it is our intention to have, at least, as many years.”