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Food and society

Guido Barilla received by the Italian President Mattarella

In a special meeting held at the Quirinale Palace in Rome, BCFN’s activities were presented to President Mattarella. Special mention was made of the Forum, which took place in Milan on 1 December 2016, and of the Food Sustainability Index, created in collaboration with the Economist Intelligence Unit. The Italian head of state expressed his interest and appreciation for the work of BCFN.

Excellent food is one of the elements which set Italy apart from all other nations. So it isn’t surprising that Italian President Sergio Mattarella expressed an interest in the activities of BCFN as described by Guido Barilla, President of the Foundation, during a meeting held at the Quirinale on 23 November 2016.
The purpose of the reception was to present the 7th International Forum on Food and Nutrition, titled “Eat Better, Eat Less, Food for All”, to the highest office in the country (LINK all’articolo di sintesi Forum). This large, inter-disciplinary event, unique in Italy, is a prestigious round-table to discuss the great paradoxes of the food system.

We are honoured by the opportunity President Mattarella has offered us. During the meeting, we discussed the work carried out by BCFN, focusing on the seventh edition of the International Forum. The annual gathering’s objective is to share evidence, scientific data and best practices to create a real road map which can be used to reach the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, to shape a dietary model which respects the health of people and the planet, and to rediscover food’s value beyond flavour”, stated Guido Barilla after the meeting. “The slogan which we chose is ‘Eat Better, Eat Less, Food for All’ because it encapsulates our mind-set in just a few words: if we eat better and we eat less, it won’t just be our health to benefit, but also our planet. The paradoxes of our dietary system, even today, have a significant impact on the changing climate, economic crises, migrations and conflicts, and we all, in our own small way, can do our part. It is precisely for this reason that we think the International Forum - organised by the BCFN Foundation and attended by the general public as well as leading foundations and associations concerned with food on a global level (such as the Global Alliance for the Future of Food and Foundation Carrasso) - is an extremely valuable occasion to propose concrete, effective solutions on urgent topics such as hunger and obesity, the proper use of natural resources, wasted food, sustainable diets, agriculture’s environmental impact and climate change. We believe it has the potential to be an important stimulus for policy makers around the globe.”

An index for decision-makers
The meeting with President Mattarella was also a chance to present the project which the BCFN Foundation has been working on with The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU): the Food Sustainability Index, a one-of-a-kind ranking which will map the world’s most sustainable cities and countries in terms of food. “This Index will help us understand where people eat best in the world, not so much in terms of flavour, but in terms of sustainability, food waste and actions undertaken to combat the nutritional challenges which we face. The results”, continued Mr. Barilla, “will allow experts as well as political decision-makers, to define research and policy choices, be they domestic or international. It’s an innovative and necessary tool, created to offer a new perspective on the world and on our dietary choices.”
Convincing political decision-makers of the usefulness of certain sustainability initiatives is one potential tool to use to change the status quo. The other is working with the public to help people make sustainable decisions in relation to their food choices. In both cases, the support and interest of figures like the President of the Italian Republic are invaluable if we are to achieve lasting results.

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