Promoting biodiversity and local supply chains: EPO’s commitment

The relationship between living beings and their environment is both complex and fragile. In a world undergoing profound change, ensuring the survival of the species and the harmony between humans and nature has become increasingly crucial.

For years, our company has been working in line with the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda, to reduce the environmental impact of our production and guide our activities towards sustainable growth. 

One of the pillars of our action is sustainable sourcing, i.e. the selection of suppliers who meet particular requirements of social equity and sustainable production. Today, both clients and final consumers are more and more demanding and attentive to corporate responsibility. At the same time, many companies are turning to developing countries in search of low-cost labor and greater production capacity.

While the global expansion of supply chains is beneficial in economic terms, it also has a negative impact on the companies’ reputation and the well-being of the planet. The climate emergency requires careful reflection and a change of mentality from the industry. 

The valorization of local supply chains, the protection of biodiversity and the preservation of less known plant species are the heart of our action. For this reason, we support several projects, especially in the agronomic field, in collaboration with Universities, research centers, and local communities. 

‘EkinACT’ project for mountain supply chains

The creation of a supply chain for officinal plants in mountain areas is one of our fields of intervention. This commitment has two main purposes: on one hand, it allows us to verify the phytochemical and biological properties of plants cultivated in pristine environments; on the other hand, it creates job opportunities for mountain communities. In this way, we can limit the depopulation of these areas and encourage the recovery of ancient crafts (otherwise destined to be lost forever), like that of the herbalist-gatherer. 

The ‘EkinACT’ project, developed together with Judicaria officinali of Borgo Chiese (Trento) and the University La Sapienza of Rome, meets both these requirements. The project has shown that the Echinacea purpurea cultivated in mountain areas is particularly rich in polyphenols, tannins and flavonoids, antioxidant molecules with important biological actions. This supply chain provides the raw material used in the production of our EkinACT extract, a natural booster for the immune system. 

The presence of echinacea also creates an ideal habitat for pollinating insects such as bees and butterflies, which are strongly attracted to this plant.  

A new supply chain for chestnut leaves

In collaboration with the Consorzio Castanicoltori of Brinzio, Orino and Castello Cabiaglio and the University of Milan, we were involved in the cleaning and recovery of chestnut woods in the province of Varese. 

Chestnut trees were trimmed to restore their vigor while preserving cavities for birds and bats. As a result, a previously degraded place has once again become a natural heritage of biodiversity. 

The project has also laid the foundations for the development of a new supply chain for chestnut leaves, rich in active ingredients and used with expectorant and adjuvant properties in the treatment of cough.  

From Peru to Valcamonica: a short supply chain for caigua 

Together with the farm Il Castagneto and the University of the Mountain of Edolo, we have been supporting the creation of a short supply chain of caigua for nutraceutical use. 

Caigua is a herbaceous vine native to Peru with hypolipidemic and hypoglycemic properties, used to produce our OMEOlipid extract. Despite its distant origins, it has been cultivated for at least a century in some valleys of Lombardy for food use. 

The creation of a supply chain in Lombardy would make it possible to avoid transport from Peru, which is both expensive and environmentally unsustainable, reducing the carbon footprint of the production. Another positive aspect is the creation of new jobs, a real opportunity for mountain communities. 

To these special projects we have also dedicated a video: a celebration of the beauty of nature and the need to preserve our relationship with it. 

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