As the health emergency progressed, the situation for hundreds of Italian companies became dramatic. No one was spared, not even a large company like Alitalia, which today can count on 110 daily flights, compared to around 500 in the period before the pandemic.
A great precariousness, a growing concern for the future, within which a flower has sprouted, perhaps unexpected, but really special. Food and drink that could not be taken on board the planes and instead remained in the warehouses were donated to the various Italian Food Banks (of the Banco Alimentare national network).
"It was a passionate participation," says Emanuela Bartoletti who, together with Stefania Izzo from Alitalia's Corporate Social Responsibility department, is at the origin of this story, "and not just a technical fact to avoid the disposal of surplus food. None of us could have foreseen such a situation, which had an impact on so many areas of the company. But in front of everyone there was the image of a country that was plunging into need, of thousands of people who found themselves passing from normality into poverty; the objective for us became not to waste, to get involved and as far as possible to help those who were in difficulty".
It was not easy. Alitalia is a company under a special supervision and any initiative, any goods leaving the company, requires specific authorisation. So, it was necessary to study a path that would make the donation possible, also because it had never happened in the past to have a similar amount of surplus food available. A complex process that involved many sectors of the company. “The truth is," says Emanuela, "that everyone was enthusiastic about this project, from those working in the purchasing office to those in the warehouses. They called us to inform us of the surplus food, there was active participation by everyone, a real team work. There was an enthusiasm in everyone, a willingness to participate driven by the desire to be useful to someone else.”
The idea was born within the framework of Corporate Social Responsibility, with the involvement of many colleagues to study a process that would make the project possible, through meetings with the various parties involved, fiscal, administrative, purchasing and procurement. But above all, it was the heart that set things in motion and made everything possible. The first relationship was with Banco Alimentare in the Region Lazio and then the collaboration was extended to the whole national network of Fondazione Banco Alimentare Onlus. As a consequence, Alitalia's surplus food reached half of Italy. But why choosing Banco Alimentare as a partner? “It came naturally to us to think of Banco Alimentare," explains Emanuela, "especially with regard to the type of products to be donated, and our proposal was approved by the company management. I can assure you that we have many contacts with various associations, but in this case it was natural to think to the Banco Alimentare, a national organisation that we know well.”
Another story for Banco Alimentare, another part of the journey, with new partners along the way.
Read here the original article (in Italian).