In today’s world, biodiversity is a key element of agricultural production in concert with national and international objectives. Public opinion is increasingly aware of the importance of reducing the environmental impact of human activities and in particular in the agriculture area. Accordingly, by increasing the awareness of both the producer and the consumer, the Diversity Ark Certification improves the agro-ecological context in which agricultural activity is carried out.
The application of rules of production, regardless how stringent and virtuous, is not enough without a constant investigation of the naturalistic-biological context in which the place of production is located. With the ultimate goal to enhance the natural component of agricultural production, the Diversity Ark Certification stems from this intuition.
Thanks to Diversity Ark, farmers and agricultural companies are committed to guarantee to the consumers, the protection of the biodiversity and the environment on their properties. At the same time, they add greater attention to the choice of technical means characterized by favorable toxicological profiles and the implementation of conservative agronomic techniques that respect the environment.
The Diversity Ark certification aims to trigger a virtuous process in which:
- producers acquire ever greater awareness of the effects of their activity, with continuous improvement of their relationship with the cultivation environment through analysis, experience and training;
- consumers are guaranteed in the purchase and consumption of products grown with awareness and respect for the environment. At the same time, they are educated in agro-ecological values and principles, which are fundamental for guaranteeing the maintenance of agricultural resources for future generations.
The Diversity Ark certification applied to an agricultural product, guarantees that the agricultural company:
- has implemented a management model of the cultivated plots and the environmental context in which they are located that favors biodiversity;
- has set up an agri-environmental monitoring plan useful for evaluating the state of health of the cultivation environment;
- has adhered to a continuous training program on biodiversity in order to be able to describe and interpret it.
Diversity Ark products, consequently, respond in a concrete way to the maintenance and enrichment of biodiversity and the quality of the environment in cultivated areas, while ensuring the healthiness and quality of agricultural production.
Strengthened by our convictions, we have drawn up and registered the Diversity Ark Certification Standards with the certainty of being able to combine the needs of companies with the highest agro-ecological standards. The importance of virtuous soil management is emphasized with the aim of reducing consumption, erosion, etc., also focusing on the biological fertility of the soil, with the calculation of the biological fertility index (IBF), and the analytical study of the chemical and physical composition. At the same time, a study/monitoring of the biodiversity of plants and insects is carried out with the application of special indexes, aimed at highlighting the state of natural balances in the field of cultivation. Many of these aspects are summarized in a score card which allows to evaluate the condition of the plot of land being analyzed and to identify areas for improvement. The choice of plots of land is random and is carried out by the Certification Body. The advantages of this approach are many and among these emerge the characterization of a given cultivation area in terms of floristic, entomological biodiversity and soil fertility, as well as a strong awareness of the correct use of plastic, the importance of enriching with natural elements the edges of crops, etc. Furthermore, the effect of increasing awareness and knowledge of the company and its collaborators on the topics described above is very important. This will be achieved through mandatory training activities on the topics of the environment, nature and sustainability. The positive effects on the final product are evident, since it derives from a production process that excludes the use of many active substances with impactful risk phrases (e.g. “Suspected of causing cancer”). It is also “guaranteed” from a naturalistic point of view as the producer measures the impact of his agricultural practice on biodiversity and undertakes to improve his production context over time. Multi-residual analyzes on the product also promote greater food safety.
- The company undertakes to have surveys carried out on biodiversity in the vineyard at least annually.
- In phytosanitary management, the company must demonstrate that it applies the following approaches, already envisaged by Directive 128/2009 on the sustainable use of pesticides: field monitoring of intervention thresholds, application of integrated and/or biological strategies (e.g. agronomic interventions to reduce the application of agro-pharmaceuticals, use of beneficial organisms, etc.), use of forecasting models, use of climatic data collection stations. The information relating to the aspects described above can be obtained either from intra-company activities and from territorial data provided by public or private bodies or associations (e.g. Regional Services, Consortia, etc.).
- The company undertakes NOT to use plant protection products or fertilizers with indications of danger H linked to human health, according to the CLP classification. In particular substances having acute toxicity via the oral, dermal, inhalation routes (H300, H301, H310, H311, H330, H331) substances indicating respiratory sensitization (H334), germ cell mutagenicity (H340, H341) carcinogenicity (H350, H351), toxicity for reproduction (H360, H361). Any derogations are allowed only in the case of phytosanitary emergencies recognized by official bodies and for which products not bearing the H indications listed above are not available, or it is not possible to carry out an effective strategy that does not include the inclusion of one or more products bearing the above H indications. In this case, it will be necessary to produce a technical report from a professional certifying proven reasons relating to the technical choices applied.
- The company undertakes NOT to use crop protection products with a herbicidal action for the management of the sub-row in particular, or any other portion of the surfaces pertaining to the company.
- The company undertakes to apply conservative techniques to prevent erosion and loss of organic matter, alternatively or in combination with each other (with the exception of the first 2 years after planting in the case of orchards):
- minimal tillage/spontaneous grassing;
- no plowing over the entire surface for at least 3 years on the same plot in the case of arable land and in the inter-row area in the case of orchards and no grubbing with a depth greater than 20 cm in the inter-row area in the case of orchards;
- green manure;
- sowing of cover crops;
- sowing of technical grassing;
- application of composted organic matter;
- natural mulch.
- The company undertakes to reduce the use of plastic in the field through the use of biodegradable or recyclable materials or the systematic collection of used plastic residues (tubes, strings, bags, etc.).
- At least 1 annual check is carried out by an accredited laboratory in accordance with the ISO/IEC 17025 standard for multi-residual analyzes and sampling on fruit, vegetable parts, grapes, musts, wines or other processed products or other matrix. Through this multi-residual analysis, the possible presence of the non-admitted substances indicated in points 4, paragraph 3 and 4 of the Production Regulations will be ascertained. The company must produce an assignment document for an accredited analysis laboratory, in which the purposes of this analysis are inferred.