Sustainability and health aspects in the development of the agri-food sector in Africa

The course of IHEA foundation organised by the Politecnico di Milano was concluded at Addis Ababa


The intensive course “Sustainability and health aspects in the development of selected value chains of the agri-food sector in Ethiopia”, promoted by Fondazione IHEA – Italian Higher Education with Africa and organized by the Politecnico di Milano in collaboration with the Department of Animal Medicine, Production and Health of the Università di Padova and the College of Veterinary Medicine and Agriculture of the Addis Abeba University, was concluded at Addis Ababa.

The course provided PhD students, young researchers and professionals with an integrated training on the role of agri-food section in sub-Saharan Africa, with a particular focus on the Ethiopian context, the importance of innovation and entrepreneurship, and aspects of food safety and animal health for the development of global value chains.

Federica Ciccullo, professor at the Department of Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering, Niso Randellini, PhD student, and Sandra Cesari de Maria, project manager at Food Sustainability Lab, collaborated for the Politecnico di Milano.


Neighbourhood Hubs against food waste win the Earthshot Prize

Dedicated to environmental protection actions, Milan’s anti-food waste project won £1 million and support from the Royal Foundation for the next few years.


Milan, 18 October 2021 – On the night of Sunday, 17 October 2021, Prince William announced that the City of Milan, with its Neighbourhood Hubs Food Policy project against food waste, is the winner of the first prestigious international Earthshot Prize for the best solutions to protect the environment.

A month ago it was announced that Milan was one of the 15 finalists in the “a world without waste” section, and yesterday, live on the BBC and Discovery Channel, Prince William unveiled the winners after an international panel of experts selected Milan from 750 candidate initiatives from around the world.

Along with Milan in the other four categories of the award were winners from the Republic of Costa Rica for the protection of forests, India for the reduction of smoke emissions into the air, Berlin for the development of hydrogen technologies for energy production, and the Bahamas for the protection of coral reefs.

In Milan, the BBC arranged a link to London from a terrace overlooking the Duomo, which was attended by Deputy Mayor Anna Scavuzzo, with representatives of all the partners who bring this project to life.

The £1 million prize will be used to further develop these hubs and open new ones, ensuring their long-term sustainability and replicating this excellent practice in the network of cities working with Milan on food policy, starting with the network of C40 cities and the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact.

Winning the Earthshot prize is the recognition of a great team effort that has involved the entire city: thanks to the City Council and many organisations from the third sector, universities, large-scale retail trade and philanthropy operating in the area, Milan now has 3 neighbourhood hubs at Isola (2019), Lambrate (2020) and Gallaratese (2021).

The project was born in 2017 as a result of an alliance between the City of Milan, Politecnico di Milano (with the research group of the Food Sustainability Lab, Department of Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering) Assolombarda, Fondazione Cariplo and the QuBì Programme.
The creation of the first Hub then brought in Banco Alimentare della Lombardia and saved over 10 tonnes of food per month, ensuring a stream of 260,000 equivalent meals in one year, reaching 3,800 people, thanks to the contribution of 20 supermarkets, 4 business canteens and 24 Third Sector organisations.

In particular, the Food Sustainability Observatory conducted a network feasibility study and monitored the hubs’ operation and the impact generated by the project, thus making it possible to build an extensible logistic model replicable in other areas of the city.

Indeed, this was followed by the launch of the Hub in Lambrate, immediately after the first lockdown in spring 2020, also managed by Banco Alimentare della Lombardia in a space made available by AVIS Milano and with the support of BCC Milano. The third Hub, at Gallaratese, is managed by Terre des Hommes with the support of the Fondazione Milan.

Another one, currently in the planning stage, will be the neighbourhood Hub in Corvetto, managed by the Banco Alimentare della Lombardia and with the support of the Fondazione SNAM; while the City of Milan has recently started the co-design process for the Hub in the city centre with Associazione IBVA and the support of BCC Milano.


The team of the Department of Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering:
Alessandro Perego, Marco Melacini, Giulia Bartezzaghi, Annalaura Silvestro and Andrea Rizzuni from the Food Sustainability research group.

Partners involved:
The project involves major retailers including Lidl Italia, Esselunga, Carrefour, NaturaSi, Erbert, Coop Lombardia, Il Gigante, Bennet, Penny Market with the support of Number1 Logistics Group who provided the vans for the Isola and Lambrate hubs. Also involved were the canteens of Pirelli, Siemens, Deutsche Bank and Maire Tecnimont, coordinated by Gruppo Pellegrini for the Isola Hub.
With Fondazione Cariplo and SogeMi, the City of Milan has also launched the Foody zero waste initiative to replicate the hub model at Ortomercato and recover fresh food together with Banco Alimentare della Lombardia, Recup, Croce rossa sud milanese, Università degli studi di Milano and many other supporting partners.

Food Waste Hubs among the Earthshot Prize finalists

The Milanese project against food waste is one of the 3 finalists of the prize promoting environmental protection measures, in the category “Build a Waste Free World”


On 17 September, Prince William announced that the City of Milan Food Waste Hubs have made it into the shortlist of 15 finalists of the inaugural year of the Earthshot Prize, the prestigious international award for the best environmental protection solutions.

In particular, Milan will be vying for the prize in the category “Build a Waste Free World” alongside another two projects: one for the conversion of waste into safe agricultural inputs (Kenya) and one involving a water treatment system that turns 98% of water waste into clean fresh water (Japan). Food Waste Hubs was selected from among 750 projects submitted worldwide.

Making it into the shortlist of Earthshot Prize finalists confirms the great teamwork demonstrated by the city of Milan. Through the work of the City Council and many local, private and third-sector companies, today Milan has 3 hubs in the districts of Isola (2019), Lambrate (2020) and Gallaratese (2021).

The project stems from a partnership, established in 2016, between the Milan City Council, the Politecnico di Milano, Assolombarda, Fondazione Cariplo and the QuBì Programme.

In particular, the Politecnico di Milano School of Management conducted a network feasibility study and monitored the hubs’ operation and the impact generated by the project, thus making it possible to build an extensible logistic model replicable in other areas of the city.

The project also involves major mass retailers, including Lidl Italia, Esselunga, Carrefour, NaturaSi, Erbert, Coop Lombardia, Il Gigante, Bennet and Penny Market. Moreover, in collaboration with Fondazione Cariplo and SogeMi, the Milan City Council has also launched the “Foody Zero Waste” initiative to replicate the hub model at Ortomercato, Milan’s wholesale fruit and vegetable market, and recover fresh food alongside Banco Alimenare della Lombardia, Recup, the Southern Milanese Red Cross, the University of Milan and many other supporting partners.

The winners will be announced in late October.

For more information:
Food Policy Press Release
Finalists announcement

Prada Group presents “Shaping a Sustainable Future Society”

The Prada Group will present “Shaping a Sustainable Future Society” on November 8th 2019 in New York, marking the third edition of the Group’s conferences dedicated to stimulate a debate on the most significant changes taking place in contemporary society.

This year’s event will explore the meaning of social sustainability seeking to define what this truly means. The speakers will reflect on the responsibility of business and institutions to foster an environment that encourages freedom, equality and justice. Dialectic thought and diverse perspectives will underpin the day’s discussions and the various speeches. True to the Shaping series usual format, rigorous academic research will be an integral part of the day.

The morning will start with a keynote speech by acclaimed architect Sir David Adjaye OBE, followed by a roundtable dedicated to discuss on how businesses can keep abreast of new challenges posed by an ever-evolving society; the conversation will be moderated by Professor Gianni Riotta, journalist and Executive Vice President of the Italy-US Council.
The panel will involve speakers with diverse experience and expertise, including Richard Armstrong, Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation; Amale Andraos, Dean of the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation; Mariarosa Cutillo, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) – Chief of Strategic Partnerships; Amanda Gorman, poet and activist; Kent Larson, City Science Director at MIT Media Lab and Livia Pomodoro, President of Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera, former Magistrate and President of the Court of Milan.
The roundtable will be followed by the contribution of Paralympic champion Simone Barlaam.

The event will continue by offering the contribution of the two academic partners, the Schools of Management of Yale and Politecnico di Milano, to explore the conference’s theme from two different perspectives. The Yale Center for Customer Insights will present a survey developed in partnership with the Prada Group on how consumer choices and behaviors are affected by social issues. Moderated by Gianni Riotta, a free-flowing discussion between Professor Raffaella Cagliano from Politecnico di Milano School of Management and Professor Kate Crawford, writer, composer and producer will follow, to examine how innovative digital technologies, including Artificial Intelligence (AI), are reshaping our daily lives, and how society should anticipate and manage the risks of biased or unethical use of digital technologies.
The day’s closing remarks will be provided by Rula Jebreal, award-winning journalist, author and foreign policy expert.

The whole conference will be live-streamed on, starting at 9.30 am EST / 3.30 pm CET. Follow the day on social media via @Prada, which will tweet live from the event and join the conversation with #ShapingASustainableSociety
An overview of the event, as well as the agenda of the day and the gallery of speakers are available on the Prada Group website in a dedicated section.
For further information: Prada Press Office Tel. +39 02 567 811 e-mail:
About “Shaping a Future” conferences:
Since 2017, the Prada Group has hosted an annual conference with the aim of stimulating a debate on the most significant changes taking place in contemporary society. In both editions, Prada collaborated with the Schools of Management of both Yale and Politecnico di Milano.
The first conference in 2017, entitled “Shaping a Creative Future” addressed the links between creativity, sustainability and innovation. The second conference in 2018, “Shaping a Sustainable Digital Future” explored the relationship between sustainability and digital innovation.
The conference series format consists of keynote speeches, panel discussions, and students’ competitions.

Thesis Award “SOM for SDGs: Thesis aimed at Sustainable Development Goals” 

The School of Management of Politecnico di Milano promotes the principles of responsible and sustainable management in all its programs, and supports learning and research activities consistent with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the Agenda 2030 of United Nations. In this context the award “SOM for SDGs: Thesis aimed at Sustainable Development Goals” has been created.

Thesis or dissertation submitted should represent a contribution to solve the current social challenges and identify models of sustainable development in terms of environmental, economic and social impact.

The call targets students who have obtained a Laurea Magistrale or Laurea Specialistica or V.O. in Management Engineering at Politecnico di Milano from November 2018 to October 2019.

Deadline for submission: 9 October 2019.


For more information please download the call at


There are only twelve years left for mankind to avert a climate catastrophe. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) sounded the alarm on climate change at the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP24), which took place in December in Katowice, Poland.

What judgement can be made about this critical international conference? What emerges is a mixed picture, with experts divided between those concerned about the lack of progress and those who focus instead on the importance of the results – albeit limited – that have been achieved so far.

“Climate change is a complicated negotiation process involving many countries. As such it is natural to expect slow progress”, stated Massimo Tavoni, Professor of Climate Change Economics at Politecnico di Milano School of Management. “The main objective of this year COP meeting was to take stock of where we are and come up with implementation guidelines. These objectives were achieved overall, but also showed how little progress has been achieved thus far. In particular, the meeting in Katowice underlined the political fragility of the Paris Climate agreement signed in 2015. The skeptical positions of the governements of the US, and of the just elected Brasilian one, in addition to the countervailing forces of countries in the Gulf, has casted doubts on the capacity of the Paris agreement to make real additional progress on emissions’ reductions. This while the science has been accumulating new worrying signs of the potentially devastating impacts of climate change on human and ecosystems” pointed out Tavoni, recipient of a European Research Council (ERC) grant evaluating how behavioural sciences can be used to promote pro-environmental behaviour.

Although technically the COP24 achieved its objective, which was to approve guidelines on the application of the Paris Agreement to combat climate change reached at the COP21 summit in 2015, a collective commitment to strive toward the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) was not reached. The objective of the Paris Agreement was to keep the increase in global temperatures below 2 °C compared to pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the rise to 1.5 °C.

“In order to do that, the objectives of voluntary reduction must be fixed at a national level, but it is also necessary to guarantee coherent, common and transparent methods in order to be able to compare the different objectives and the actions of different countries with the same methodology” observed Giuseppe Onufrio, Director of Greenpeace Italy. “Without this, each country would measure things their own way. The aim of Katowice was therefore to have the technical foundations to carry on, a goal which has been reached despite its challenges. At the same time, though, there was a marked decline in leadership”.

Conference attendees clearly saw this “decline in leadership” from the start of the conference, with a heated discussion on how to acknowledge the IPCC special report issued just two months before the Katowice conference evaluating the different impact on the climate that would be seen with a 1.5 °C increase in temperature and one of 2 °C.

The United States, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, all of which are oil producers, decided not to “welcome” the results presented by the climatologists. Therefore, at the end of the COP24, participants simply “took note” of the IPCC special report. There is a big difference between “using the little word ‘welcome’ or ‘taking note’, which means taking note without necessarily taking action” pointed out Onufrio.

Yet alongside the achievement of the technical objectives of the Katowice conference, which allow negotiations on climate commitments to continue, there were also other positive aspects of the COP24. Climate issues involving agriculture, soil and forests became a central part of policy discussions. And, for the first time, a real debate began about the future of coal. The Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Science and the Polish Academy of Science presented a document recommending a transition away from reliance on coal in Poland by 2030.
That could also have some positive consequences in terms of employment, as Giuseppe Onufrio explained: “The sectors that will cease to exist, like those of the fossil fuels industry, have a high capital intensity and a low labour intensity, with the exception of mines, which will lose jobs anyway, in part due to automation which is affecting this industry too. Instead, in renewable sources of energy, there is much higher need for workers for every unit of energy produced”.



Local Hub Inauguration – Promoting Food Donations and Reducing Food Waste


In 2015, Milano was behind a new Food Policy to pioneer a more sustainable food system throughout the city, introducing a multidisciplinary and participative approach where city authorities act as drivers and enablers.
A top priority in the food policy is to reduce food waste, and the best way to get there was to bring on board local players – the city’s research centres, institutions, private sector, foundations and social actors.

To turn this priority into concrete actions, in 2016, Comune di Milano, Assolombarda and Politecnico di Milano agreed a memorandum of understanding, entitled “ZeroSprechi”, set up to reduce food waste and implement a new method for collecting food which would then be donated to those in need. The design and trial of such a model to gather and redistribute excess food was built around local groups and networks.

Comune di Milano identified an unused public area in the Municipio 9 zone, allocating it to the project as a hub for stocking and distributing food collected by TSOs, charities and non-profit organisations.
Politecnico di Milano conducted a feasibility study on the network and now will monitor the operations at the hub and the impact of the project over a 12-month period, building a logistics model that can be scaled up and replicated in other city quarters.
Assolombarda ran an intense awareness programme, identifying and involving several companies who have joined the project, and it supplied the “ZeroSprechi” logo designed and donated by the Armando Testa Group, to reward exemplary companies and highlight the serious problem of managing food excess.
Banco Alimentare della Lombardia, winner of the competition to run the hub, will be responsible for day-to-day operations on the basis of the Politecnico-designed model, collecting food excess and distributing this food to partner charitable organisations in the local area.
Programma QuBì – a formula to fight child poverty – which had previously started a similar hub in Via degli Umiliati, joined the initiative, funding the outfitting and management of the hub in Via Borsieri and bringing its own local network into the scheme.
This is an innovative project involving the combined work of all actors concerned, from the companies engaged in donating and enabling the recovery of excess food, to non-profit organisations acting as contact points with the needy and the public authorities backing these ethical initiatives.

“I am pleased that this hub is now open, because so many of our city’s plays worked together to get it off the ground”, declared Anna Scavuzzo, Milan’s Deputy Mayor responsible for the Food Policy programme. “This is the first example of a local network established to collect and redistribute food before excess becomes waste. Collaboration with Municipio 9 means that we were able to give the city an unused public space and, at the same time, highlight our commitment to reduce food waste, a top priority in Milan’s Food Policy. This project runs alongside a 20% reduction in the variable quota of the TARI tax on waste for companies that donate food, the drive to collect and redistribute food excess from school canteens, and wider actions currently under study together with AMSA (waste management services). The Via Borsieri hub is another step forward in our quest for a more sustainable, inclusive and equal Milan”.
Giuseppe Lardieri, President of Municipio 9 echoed her feelings by saying: “I am happy that Municipio 9 is hosting this project. At its heart is the debate on the right of access to food and the distribution of food that is not used. With the new poverty in our smart cities, these are topics that should push us all to do better. Without forgetting that reducing food waste means reducing waste in general and encouraging us to eat more perishable foods like fruit and vegetables, which are also healthier. I am sure that all actors in the Municipio 9 zone – industries, supermarkets, restaurants and food services, third sector, institutions – will play their part to ensure the success of this initiative”.

Politecnico di Milano is proud to bring its contribution to the project, elaborating a model for collecting food that can be replicated in other parts of the city and in other places altogether”, declared Marco Melacini, Professor of Logistics and Scientific Director of the Food Sustainability Observatory of Politecnico di Milano. “The project does not terminate with the opening of this hub in Via Borsieri and there will be regular meetings to check whether it is proving effective in the excess food collected and efficient in gathering and distributing this food. The work group will provide periodical updates on the progress of the project”.

“We are proud that the first food excess recovery project engaging supply chain companies and third sector operators within the city of Milan is in now place, two years from signing the memorandum of understanding”, said Alessandro Perego, Director of the Management Engineering Department at Politecnico di Milano. “The need to act on waste is particularly sensitive both from a social standpoint and environmentally, and we believe that Milan, with everyone concerned acting together, is taking a decisive step towards a more sustainable future in matters relating to food”.

“Today we have reached a significant target in our fight against waste, setting in motion an effective process to gather and redistribute food excess, based on a replicable model that makes Milan the standard-bearer for this campaign”, stated Alessandro Scarabelli, General Director of Assolombarda Confindustria Milano, Monza & Brianza, Lodi. “This result is the outcome of strong collaboration between associations, bodies, companies, universities and non-profit organisations, all pooling their contributions in a joint, concerted undertaking and, by using a fast track system, maximising the delivery and consumption of excess food. In addition, with the “ZeroSprechi” logo, we want to highlight the companies taking an active role in the project that, by joining the initiative, are promoting good practice and a culture of reducing food waste”.

“Banco Alimentare della Lombardia intends to get closer to its partner charitable organisations in the districts of Milan’s Municipio 8 and Municipio 9 zones, and fight food poverty together. We are, with for-profit companies, institutions, trade associations and grant-giving foundations, a winning team, and can address need with real solutions”, said Marco Magnelli, Director of Banco Alimentare della Lombardia.

The problem of child food poverty in Milan must be faced and resolved through an intervention model that requires all the forces involved to work together closely. The inauguration of the Via Borsieri hub is a giant step in this direction. Programma QuBì has already helped Banco Alimentare della Lombardia to open the first two city collection points and now, through our synergy with other interested parties, we will be able to maximise food collection, reduce waste and strengthen our capacity to reach families in food poverty. The fight against food poverty is a cornerstone action in the multi-year Programma QuBì promoted by Fondazione Cariplo Foundation – with the support of Fondazione Vismara Foundation, Intesa Sanpaolo, Fondazione Enrica & Romeo Invernizzi and Fondazione Fiera Milano – in collaboration with Comune di Milano and third sector organisations operating in the local area. This 25-million-euro challenge will commit Milan in its entirety, calling on companies, institutions and private citizens to produce a common formula that can provide concrete answers to disadvantaged families and create exit paths from need”, concluded Giuseppe Guzzetti, President of Fondazione Cariplo