Ethics and Sustainability
The planet and its inhabitants – us, the fauna & the flora – hang in such a delicate, interconnected balance that surely we all must take our responsibilities as a force in this world seriously. This is true for us as individuals, but even more so for companies, markets and industries. Accountability and transparency must be held paramount.
Here’s what we do to ensure our products aren’t obtained through means harmful to the wellbeing of humans, animals or the environment.
We decided on day one not to sell meat or fish, as we don’t want to profit from other beings’ suffering, or the deforestation and aggressive monocropping required for producing animal feed. Animal rennet is, however, used to make our pecorino cheeses and parmesan flatbreads. 75% of our range is certified vegan, and where dairy is used, we always use organic eggs to guarantee better animal welfare and soil health.
A percentage of profits made from our raw honey range are donated annually to buglife.org.uk, an EU charity dedicated to the conservation of bees and all other invertebrates, the creepy-crawly mainstays of the world’s ecosystems.
GM farming is something we strongly oppose, and we have strict controls and short supply chains to guarantee that no GM crops ever enter our products.
The family farm where we produce Lunaio Single Estate Extra Virgin Olive Oil was certified organic in 1997 but prior to that, we were still caring for the land in accordance with the principles of organic farming. That means no chemical pesticides and only natural fertilizers like horse manure have ever touched the soil.
Our brand invests in quality ingredients with certified provenance, local cultivar preservation and minimum-intervention agriculture. We don’t use industrial or blended ingredients, preferring single-source and monovarietal ingredients which connect food to its terroir and guarantee provenance.
Our range of around 150 products is sourced from 35 producers presently. Some are internationally renowned for their craft; many are family-run affairs continuing a tradition which has spanned generations, and others are innovative newcomers; young enthusiasts with a finger on the pulse. What unites us all is a strong connection to our land and a passion for good, clean food. Our organic and guaranteed provenance certification can often identify the exact farm where an ingredient was grown.
Short supply chains
This means we work with few/er intermediaries and short/er physical distances between farm, production and final consumer. For example, our new organic Sicilian ancient grain pasta range is made by the only producer on the planet who grows, sun-dries and bronze draws their artisan offering all on-site, meaning zero miles and zero chance of mycotoxin contamination. This is a common occurance when chemically dried wheat is transported for months in ship holds. Another boon is our grain gets milled and made to pasta on the day of harvest, which minimises oxidation to the highest degree.
Maintaining a short supply chain not only decreases a product’s carbon footprint and keeps money in rural economies and farmers’ pockets, but also guarantees better provenance traceability and higher quality control in terms of both farming practices, ingredients and production methods.
Supporting local economies
If a farm we work with needs to upgrade its facilities in order to make better, cleaner produce, we invest. The accumulated knowledge of generations of family farmers, so linked to an area’s cultivars, microclimates, culinary tradition and artisan production methods is invaluable and must be protected. We’re happy to say that many of our suppliers are now more than just friends, but part of the Seggiano family.
If longstanding relationships with our maestri suppliers are our company’s biggest strength, its second must be the uncompromising and meticulous attention we commit to the details. In bringing a product to market our team examine all aspects of its production and where needed, we adjust recipes, removing questionable ingredients of dubious origin.
A lot of common practices in the food industry might turn your stomach… We steer clear of hidden residues, industrial processing aids, preservatives and additives, all of which can have a negative effect on health. Our products have been free from bad fats forever, free from palm oil for years and we never use trans-fatty emulsifiers. We strictly use stable, cold-extracted high-oleic oils in our products as low-grade vegetable oils have been shown to be bad for health.
A growing organic range
Around half of our products are certified organic and others contain organic ingredients. The rest are pesticide free and use only natural fertilizers.
Intensive industrial farming practices have severe and lasting environmental impacts. Chemical pesticide runoff is routinely found to have contaminated rivers and polluted groundwater, destroying ecosystems far from the farmland they were intended for.
Aggressive soil tilling and the use of chemical fertilizers may produce a bumper crop in the first year but gradually reduces soil health beyond repair, stripping it of its nutrients and the microorganisms and mycorrhizal fungi responsible for maintaining and distributing them. This creates a vicious cycle of dependence on further chemical fertilization, leading to further soil degradation and chemical runoff.
In all areas of our business, every effort is made to limit unnecessary packaging. As new technology opens the door to more sustainable packaging options, we’re delighted to be able to offer new ecological product lines. We use FSC sustainable, unbleached, biodegradable and recyclable packaging wherever possible. Our Unbelievably Gluten Free Organic Pasta, Organic Super Dense Balsamic Glazes and Ancient Grain Sicilian Pasta ranges are, among others, fully recyclable when separated.
Our online shop recycles used cartons in the packing of your purchases, whilst in the office we reuse paper before recycling it.
Working the same piece of land season after season, year after year, continues to instill and entrench in us a great love and respect for nature, the planet, our physical location and our local community. Some of our trees are thought to have been planted over one thousand years ago (!) and countless generations have tended them – the fact is humbling and we see it as our great honour to continue on the trees’ custodianship.
This grassroots formation has had a lasting effect on how our company interacts with the world, but operating sustainably in late stage capitalism has no shortage of challenges. It’s a learning process in a changing landscape and there will always room for improvement. Get in touch with us if you have any comments or ideas of ways in which we can further improve. Here’s to eating and living ethically!