The 2019 Sustainable Development Festival




How aware are young people about the challenges that the planet faces in terms of sustainable development? Do Italian schoolchildren know the Sustainable Development Goals and how to achieve them? To what extent do they feel involved?

The recent Fridays For Future demonstrations have shown the strong feelings that schoolchildren have about sustainability: an excellent starting point, showing which concepts are now understood and which still need to be further developed. This is why the Barilla Foundation commissioned Ipsos Italia to investigate the relationship between the new generations and Sustainable Development Goals.

The resulting data highlights the often partial vision that children have concerning sustainability, frequently clear on environmental factors but underestimating the importance of food behavior.


“The Sustainable Development Goals and food awareness must proceed in parallel if we wish to reach 2030 in a better condition than we are in today. Our Planet is burning and there is not much time left to save it, but not many young people seem to be aware of this. Everyone's contribution is vital in terms of improving children's awareness, but obviously the education system and its teachers play a central role in helping to spread comprehension of the role played by food.” explains Anna Ruggerini, Operations Director of Barilla Foundation



The survey shows that the young people interviewed strongly feel the urgency of sustainability challenges and that they are aware that their own personal choices can make a difference. But they tend to see the problem in terms of climate change without fully appreciating the role of food sustainability.

Agricultural production, the adoption of sustainable diets and the reduction of food waste are too abstract as concepts for young people: only 9% clearly connect these issues to the overall concept of sustainability. In reality, the adoption of sustainable dietary habits is a crucial aspect that must be implemented in order for SDGs to be achieved. And yet, only two out of five‘under 27 Italians' adopt a Mediterranean diet, which is one of the best examples of a positive eating pattern.

The importance of such patterns is at the heart of Barilla Foundation's educational program, set up through a protocol agreement with the Italian Ministry of Education, providing teachers with more information on food and sustainability: «This commitment extends for many years, because our future depends on it, on training and education», insists Anna Ruggerini, Operational Director of the Barilla Foundation.


The Ipsos survey was presented on July 5th 2019, in the setting of the third Sustainable Development Festival, held in Rome from May 21st to June 6th. The Festival was promoted by ASviSthe Italian Alliance for Sustainable Development, and focused on the future of Italy and Europe in terms of solutions for implementing the 17 Sustainable Development Goals defined by the 2030 Agenda. The Barilla Foundation was one of the protagonists of the Festival, being the organizer and tutor of an event focused on Sustainable Development Goal number 2: "Ending hunger, achieving food security, improving nutrition and promoting sustainable agriculture".

This third edition of the Festival took place at a particularly important historical moment, during the election process for the new European Parliament which, as established by the Treaty of Lisbon, must place sustainable development at the center of its political program.

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