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Sustainability at core of Italian club apple production strategies

At the core of every VIP goal, project, strategy and action stands sustainability. In the Association of Fruit and Vegetable Cooperatives of Val Venosta, in Italy, not a single decision is made or action undertaken without a thorough assessment of its environmental impact.

The actions undertaken in this direction - such as dripline irrigation system, self-produced energy through photovoltaic panels, evaluation of the ecological footprint, pollination with bees - are numerous and effective, but it is a mere support to the work that is carried out on a daily basis by VIP's original source of sustainability: the producers of the Consortium, who were the first apple growers to adopt the system of integrated agriculture together with the farmers of VOG and have been the main suppliers of organic apples in Europe for about 25 years.

Viktoria Alber, VIP Sustainability Manager,

The role that VIP assigns to sustainability, i.e. the guiding role in its work, is also evident in the decision to create a dedicated figure within the team, who is exclusively responsible for developing sustainability and making it a trait d'union between all departments of the company. This is how the function of Sustainability Manager, currently held by Viktoria Alber, was introduced into the VIP team. Every month, the manager brings together the heads of the various departments (quality, production, sales, purchase, marketing) to take stock of the realisation of the sustainability-themed projects undertaken and the commissioning of new ones.

The collaboration of Alber and the various departmental managers involved in dedicated meetings has resulted in a true "sustainability team", which in recent years has developed and carried out multiple projects in close cooperation with the producers and cooperatives. These range from increasing the percentage of irrigation of the apple orchards using dripline irrigation systems (the aim is to increase this from the current 58% to 80% in 2026) to increasing the share of self-produced energy through photovoltaic panels installed in the Consortium's cooperatives (increased by 12% in the last three years), as well as calculating the ecological footprint of the production of each individual apple, collecting and processing data from the individual cooperatives and declaring the ecological measures implemented in a given period.

Zero food waste is also a key issue for VIP and the apple growers. Over 50 years ago, the South Tyrolean fruit industry founded its own producer organisation for the processing of industrial apples. Here, apples that do not meet market requirements in terms of colour and size are processed into concentrate, apple juice or puree, in order to minimize waste and at the same time guarantee the creation of added value.

For more information:
Tel +39 0473 723 300
E-Mail: [email protected]

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