Deoleo takes steps to promote sustainable olive oil production

Spanish olive oil processing firm Deoleo has signed an agreement with some of the country’s leading cooperatives in an effort to achieve 100% sustainability for 80% of its olive oil by 2023, World Grain reported on 12 June.

Deoleo – the producer behind the Bertolli, Carapelli and Barbonell olive oil brands – said meeting these industry-wide challenges would require a “fresh, more sustainable business model.”

Spain is the highest producer and exporter of olive oil by volume, producing 1.75M tonnes on average annually in recent years, 46% of which is exported, according to Food and Wines of Spain.

In the last three years, 128,000ha of olive groves have been planted and 100,000ha had been converted from traditional to intensive planting, World Grain wrote.

“The current olive oil model is not sustainable and prioritises quantity over quality,” said Deoleo North American chief executive officer and chief commercial officer Miguel de Jaime.

“We know that adopting a new model is a long-term project, but it is fundamental to transforming the sector with a new structure that focuses on quality while protecting the environment and natural resources, preserving biodiversity, respecting labour practices and promoting local communities.”

Deoleo was implementing education and training programmes for farmers and olive oil mills as part of the agreement, World Grain wrote.

It was also working with its programme partners to safeguard native varieties, promote early harvest and implement techniques to protect biodiversity in olive groves.

Olive mills participating in the agreement had to follow protocols regarding the environment, product quality and sustainability.

World Grain said the mills would be audited and certified by an independent third party.

“The purpose of securing this supply chain is to deliver to the world’s consumers the best possible olive oils obtained through the most sustainable and environmentally respectful methods,” World Grain quoted de Jaime as saying.