Sustainability: Expo 2015 main theme

What’s sustainability? What a great goal!

Sustainability, respect for the environment and celebration of organic food. These are the themes of this great upcoming event, Expo 2015, that will open its doors to the world in Milan on May 1st.

We have heard a lot talking about sustainability in recent years, but where does this term spring from? Actually, such cutting-edge words as “environmental economics” and “sustainability” are just relatively new. The former was introduced in the 1970s, while the latter was first pronounced in 1987 to define a development that could be able to fulfill present generation’s needs without compromising the ability of future generations to do the same.

Expo 2015 logo

Industry + Agriculture = Matrìca project

So, human needs and a particular focus on environment and future generations are the key words. In this regard, in 2011 the great combination of the industrial know-how of Novamont company and that one of the big agricultural Italian organization, Coldiretti, gave birth to the Matrìca project in Porto Torres, Sardinia.

From the conversion of an old petrochemical plant to a biorefinery, this latter started producing plastic materials, lubricants, personal care and household cleaning products from farming wastes and, in particular, from cardoon. Being the hot climate particularly suitable to cardoon culture, 27 hectares of formerly abandoned land were employed to grow this plant, also used to produce a high-protein flour to feed animals. Moreover, this project contributed to safeguard bees, that were formerly killed by the pesticides used in the cardoon culture. Placing beehives in this plantation has helped a lot protect bees and relaunch honey production, in a synergic relationship with food production.

Thus, Matrìca has succeeded in achieving a project having more than one positive effect:

  • the production of biodegradable chemicals;
  • the development and improvement of Sardinian land by growing cardoon;
  • the employment boost;
  • the respect and safeguard of the environment and the local animal species.

This is basically a great project and very good starting point to create other plants and companies working like this.

A new academic subject

Sustainability has gained so much importance to become an academic subject in Italy. Since 2013 the University of Siena, Tuscany has been teaching this new subject “Sustainability” with the aim of training and educating its students in the complexity of this topic by approaching it from a transdisciplinary point of view, as the concept affects several fields. Because it’s only by intervening in changing minds that we can improve the world.

Sources - Novamont e Coldiretti, l’unione sostenibile tra agricoltura e industria

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