How to measure the sustainability of Slow Food Presidia

What results can be seen from the Presidium project? Can the Presidia’s environmental, social and cultural impacts be measured?

The Presidia have positive effects on their local area and the community. Producers can sell their products at prices that better reflect their value. They establish important links with chefs, institutions, the press, and academia. Certain aspects of production are often changed, such as reducing or eliminating the use of synthetic chemicals, while transparency and communication are improved (through the narrative label, by recounting their products in films and interviews, etc.).
The speed of change that the Presidia bring about varies depending on their geographic and social context, the type of product, and the strength of the Slow Food network in the local area. To measure these results, the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity, the University of Turin, and the University of Palermo have come up with a method of analyzing the sustainability of the Presidia, which brings together quantitative and qualitative parameters and takes into consideration three levels of sustainability: socio-cultural, environmental and economic.

Presidium sustainability

Climate change is the most complex challenge humanity has ever faced. Food production is one of its main drivers. According to the FAO, the food sector is responsible for 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Slow Food is working with producers to measure and reduce the environmental impact of food production. In collaboration with INDACO2 (whose name stands for environmental INDicators and CO2), we measured the environmental sustainability of some Slow Food Presidium producers, analyzing the entire life cycle of their products.

A Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) methodology was used, calculating the carbon footprint, in other words, an estimation of the greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide) emitted into the atmosphere during the life cycle of a product.

The environmental sustainability of Slow Food Presidia

The emissions generated by extensive, small-scale farms (like those of the Presidia) are much lower than those produced by intensive agriculture. In most of the cases examined, emissions were 30% less than for analogous conventional products. What’s more, the presence of plant cover on the farm’s land can compensate for emissions. Vegetation acts as a carbon sink, and in some cases even captures more carbon than the farm emits.

Choosing Presidium products helps limit global warming!

Click here to see the results of the INDACO2 evaluations.

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