The decalogue of biodiversity

Biodiversity: a fundamental value in sustainable agriculture

Biodiversity is a fundamental resource for human beings, such as energy and water resources. The maintenance of high biodiversity in the environment must be an overriding goal for production activities, especially in the primary sector. Agenda 21 (objectives 4 and 5) indicates the path to save the Planet: management of water resources, energy sources, protection of marine ecosystems, forests, fight against desertification and biodiversity conservation.

Environmental responsibility as a goal for the farms

Today, to meet these new challenges, a growing number of companies develops strategies that provide an “environmental responsibility”, aimed at minimizing the environmental impacts of production processes and to support actions that are inspired by sustainable development. The company from supplier of products can become supplier of services, by certifying its direct engagement in the protection of forests, air, water and soil. A message of responsibility by companies that, in this way, also become active vehicle in the education of citizens to the issues of conservation and sustainable development.

A new approach to sustainability

To demonstrate their engagement towards environmental responsibility the companies are encouraged to change their modus operandi. The commitment of the company towards environmental conservation, certified by an accredited body, can offer several benefits.
Primarily, as United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has established, the environmental protection in agriculture has a large effect on the company’s image.

In this context also becomes crucial and strategic to communicate to the consumers the environmental commitment of the farm. Until now, the communication ignored the commitment of the companies, where it exists, with the result that the customer/consumer fails to give the responsible farmer a recognized role in the dynamics of environmental sustainability.

Beneficial effects on agritourism

The environmental quality improvement can have beneficial effects also on the rural farmhouse development, for a greater attention by the clients/consumers towards plain areas, traditionally few considered from a tourist point of view. The diffusion in the agricultural landscape of hedges and woods, the most attention to the quality of air, water and soil, the cultivation of old varieties and animal races, will allow an increase of the agricultural landscape quality that, finally, for the environmental quality can be compared to the hill and mountain areas. The agricultural lands can become again the expression of the rural tradition, of its economic, social and cultural history.

Increasingly concerned consumers

Even in economic terms the expected results are of considerable interest. Today, most consumers are able to recognize the quality of products on the basis of multiple indicators and to make ethical choices, careful to protect the environment and the people involved in the production process. Increasingly consumers are demanding information that go beyond the simple features of the product, but they tend to share the responsibility for the choices of the farms who, in turn, are increasingly concerned about the communication of their responsibility towards the quality of the environment in which they operate. This is a growing tendency, especially in the primary sector, where the demand of quality products is increasing respect to the great production of the industrial agriculture.

Warranty of sustainable productive models

For a consumer, to buy a product with the brand “Biodiversity Friend” means having scientifically verified guarantees that the product comes from agrosystems with a high degree of naturalness and has been achieved through low-impact production processes. Consequently, the product “Biodiversity Friend” will be identified as a healthy product, the result of a process based on the principles of sustainability. Such a production model, based on the enhancement of local productions, will restore market balance in a perspective of greater equity to both the producers and the consumers. In fact, the farmers expect to have higher revenues due to a more rational use of resources and an increase in value of products obtained by environmental conservation processes; on the other hand, consumers are expected to have savings because, properly informed, can take advantage of a distribution network closer to the source, in accordance to the seasonality of production.

The Biodiversity Friend Checklist may be required by the farms interested in certification to the following address: