Vog South Tyrol orchard

South Tyrol is one of Europe's largest apple-growing regions

Europe’s largest apple supplier Vog has signed up to Sustainapple, a strategic project designed to develop and promote sustainable practice in the South Tyrolean fruit growing industry.

Working alongside several other organisations that are already part of the initiative, the company said it would pursue a shared plan for the north-east Italian region’s apple business over the coming years.

“The search for a balance between ecology and economy, innovation and tradition, economic sustainability and social sustainability has always been central to our work,” remarked Georg Kössler, chairman of VOG and the South Tyrolean Apple Consortium

The strategy, which was developed in consultation with experienced sustainability experts Alfred Strigl and Sylvia Brenzel, incorporates the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

It will focus on three main areas: global success for the South Tyrolean apple sector; the promotion of healthy eating; and respect for nature.

Those areas in turn comprise various action plans, which Vog said will be implemented according to a precise schedule.

A wooden toolbox, containing important information about sustainability in the region’s fruit business and the measures set to be undertaken, will be distributed to all trade professionals in the near future.

“It is a project that highlights the sustainable approach that the South Tyrolean apple-growing sector has been pursuing for some time,” commented Vog chief executive Walter Pardatscher. “It is a useful tool that indicates the way forward.”

Pardastcher added that the consortium’s decisions had long been guided by the concept of sustainability. “All the apples are grown using either integrated production or organic farming,” he noted. “47 per cent of the electricity used for apple storage is self-generated by the cooperatives and comes from photovoltaic plants.”