The agrifood sector opens up new horizons for Conserval

The CONSERVAL consortium at ANFACO-CECOPESCA headquarters

The dissemination day of CONSERVAL was received with optimism by the agrifood industry, which is tending to the reuse and valorization in order to tackle the rising prices for raw materials and also reach the sustainability goals. As a closing for the project’s third year, the workshop ‘Ecoeficient transformation of by-products and waste waters from the canning industry’ put in common challenges and opportunities for this circular economy model, which is now facing its maturity with wider sights due to the interest of key actors within the sector.

At the ANFACO-CECOPESCA headquarters more than fifty assistants gathered for a hybrid session. Alongside the host there was a delegation of the whole CONSERVAL consortium, lead by Cetaqua Galicia, tasked with the preliminary results presentation. After the technical keynote, it was time for the representatives of the industry from within and outside the Galicia-Northern Portugal Euroregion to take part, debating the potential applications of the project in a context of volatility and accelerating trends, and finally reflecting on the importance of sustainable development leadership from this sector. A shared vision comprised raw material recovery for value chains able to preserve the natural sources while exploiting others barely explored.

Resources-wise, speakers for agriculture and food firms with international reach praised the tecnological wonders of CONSERVAL, for they allow a change of paradigm without forgetting current problems, such as raw material rising prices or the lack of diversification. The unique scope of these actors allowed for the review of policy issues and market barriers, asserting sustainable practices already in place in a sector that traditionally views the remains as raw material, and reminding of pioneer experiences that made way for the consortium. The round table included Irene López, R&D Manager of Bolton Food; Elena García, head for Environment at Frinsa del Noroeste; Jaume Lluis Tartera, director for Analysis and Control Methods of Mahou-San Miguel; and Eduardo Cotillas, R&D director at the Federación Española de Industrias de Alimentación y Bebidas (FIAB).

Thanks to this insights, the project increased its visibility with specific proposals, business lines that profit on resources that were, usually, an environmental concern. However, it is increasingly obvious that the current situation does not only need for protecting measures, but also regeneration thrive. This is the idea pointed out by Josefa de León, director for Strategic Competitiveness at Agroamb Prodalt, and vocal for the UN Global Compact Spanish Network, the first sustainability initiative aimed at corporate, and articulated through local networks in 160 countries.

CONSERVAL’s compass was established revolving the ten principles ruling the aforementioned Global Compact, a roadmap towards the Sustainable Development Goals that must be fulfilled by the end of this decisive decade, gazing the 2030 Agenda. It is the moment to mobilise the forces of change, establish bold compromises, and put into practice innovative solutions in order to reconcile the social, economic and environmental dimensions.

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