Barilla was founded in Parma, Italy as a bakery in 1877. It remains a family-owned company but today operates as an international group that produces 2,900,000 tonnes of products to 100 countries worldwide. Barilla has 30 global production sites and through its brands, is active in the sector of pasta, sources, bakery and crispbread. Most of the company's revenue comes from Italy, followed by the rest of Europe and Russia.
Barilla ranks 65th among food and beverage manufacturers/processors. The ranking reflects the company’s position across the measurement areas relative to its peers, whereby it is in the upper middle grouping of companies, but not a top performer. In nutrition, the company is a leader regarding food safety practices. However, it could improve in other nutrition topics by disclosing supporting quantitative data, including on promoting healthy foods and its approach to clear and transparent labelling. Moreover, across the social measurement area, Barilla could increase its disclosure on monitoring systems for child and forced labour and stronger commitments towards human rights, which its higher ranking peers are already reporting on. This is also the case across multiple environmental topics, such as plastic use and food loss and waste. Indeed, the company’s performance highlights that it has taken steps to address relevant topics but has yet to adequately address these yet.
Food safety Barilla discloses that 100% of its own operations are certified to a food safety scheme recognised by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). It further discloses a goal that by 2030, 100% of its raw material suppliers will be certified to an international food safety standard recognized by the GFSI and reports that 82% are currently covered.
Sustainable development strategy
Barilla has a sustainability strategy, ‘Our 2030 Agenda’, which provides an overview of sustainability objectives and topics relevant to the company. Moreover, Barilla discloses its process for identifying and prioritising its most relevant sustainability topics through a materiality assessment. However, it can improve by disclosing time bound targets for all of its most relevant sustainability topics and extending this to its entire value chain.
Governance and accountability for sustainable development
Barilla discloses that development of its sustainability policy and monitoring of specific sustainability risks is led by a specific Good for You, Good for the Planet board group. This group includes four C-suite executives. Moreover, Barilla discloses that overall responsibility for and implementation of the policy lies with the highest governance body, led by the chair and vice chair of the board. However, no relevant information was found in the public domain on whether remuneration of the board is linked to sustainability performance, presenting an opportunity for Barilla going forward.
The company discloses information on the stakeholders it has engaged, such as employees or small holder producers and farmers. However, it does not provide an overview of the issues raised via these activities, how the outcomes were integrated into its sustainability strategy nor the means of identifying and engaging each stakeholder group.
Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions
Barilla has a target to reduce absolute scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions by 25% by 2030 (compared to a 2017 baseline) and reports progress against this target annually. However, in the company’s reporting for the period under assessment, GHG emissions increased. Therefore, the company has a clear opportunity to reduce its GHG emissions and to align its reduction target with a 1.5 degree scenario.
Food loss and waste
While Barilla is addressing food loss and waste in its operations through qualitative efforts to limit the waste of resources at different levels of the agri-food chain and efforts to promote responsible consumption practices, it has an opportunity to disclose a stronger commitment. This could include setting targets to reduce food loss and waste across its own operations and supply chain and begin reporting progress against these targets.
Plastic use and packaging waste
While Barilla discloses that it is reducing its plastic use and transitioning to sustainable forms of packaging, such as that its Pasta Pronta packaging is now 100% recyclable, it has an opportunity to strengthen its commitment. This could include setting targets to reduce plastic use and transition to more sustainable forms of packaging and begin reporting progress against this target.
Availability of healthy foods Barilla states that, since 2010, it has reformulated 455 products, reducing the salt, sugar, fat or saturated fat content and increasing the wholegrain products portfolio. The company provides quantitative evidence to support these activities. However, it does not disclose its definition of ‘healthy’, nor does a target for the percentage of healthy food products in its portfolio, presenting an opportunity going forward.
Clear and transparent labelling
While Barilla discloses a commitment of compliance with national regulations regarding labelling and commits to providing nutritional information on key relevant nutrients through back-of-pack (BOP) labels, it has an opportunity to make nutritional information more visible to consumers through the adoption of front-of-pack (FOP) labels or other consumer-facing nutrition label.
While Barilla has a commitment to market its products responsibly, particularly to children and young people, it has an opportunity to disclose evidence of activities promoting healthy food options.
Farmer and fisher productivity and resilience
Barilla discloses initiatives to support farmers and small-scale producers, including the Sustainable Durum Wheat project and its engagement with the Cocoa Horizons Foundation. Moreover, Barilla discloses that by 2020, at least 10,000 farmers will be involved in the Barilla Sustainable Agriculture programme. However, there is an opportunity for the company to disclose that it is systematically measuring the outcomes and impact of all its support activities, as part of a holistic strategic approach.
While Barilla commits to prohibiting child labour in its own operations and requires its suppliers to adhere to the same standard, it has an opportunity to disclose a policy requiring its suppliers to have an age-verification system in place.
Barilla commits to prohibiting forced labour in its own operations and supply chain. However, it has an opportunity to disclose a requirement that prohibits its suppliers from retaining workers’ personal documents or restricting workers’ freedom of movement.
Core social indicators
The core social indicators are part of the social inclusion measurement area. These indicators assess societal expectations of business conduct that companies should meet if they aspire to be part of a system transformation that leaves no one behind.
Through its code of ethics, Barilla commits to respecting human rights and the ILO core labour rights in its own operations and supply chain. However, there is a lack of clarity across all other indicators regarding respect for human rights, including on how the company identifies and assesses human rights impacts and whether it has a grievance mechanism for potentially affected stakeholders. Moreover, there is an opportunity for the company to improve its disclosure on how it engages with potentially affected stakeholders
Barilla has commitments to collective bargaining, workforce diversity, and gender equality and women’s empowerment but lacks disclosure on the form these commitments take. Moreover, no public information was found regarding regulating working hours or paying a living wage. In addition, there is insufficient information available relating to health and safety, such as the process to monitor the health and safety performance of its supply chain partners.