Why Gardini’s ideas are increasingly relevant

“Raul Gardini was not only an entrepreneur, he was also an innovator, one of the real ones. His intuitions on green chemistry, initially poorly understood, are today a reality and above all a development perspective for the economy.” These are the words of Romano Prodi. The former President of the European Commission participated in the conference “Green chemistry: from the insights of Raul Gardini a new development model,” organized by the Raul Gardini Foundation at the Palazzo dei Congressi in Ravenna on December 14th, 2013.

The conference was also attended by Catia Bastioli (managing director of Novamont), Marco Fortis (vice president of Edison Foundation)and Gunter Pauli (author of the book “The Blue Economy”). “I never met Gardini – said Bastioli – and yet he marked the course of my life. Without him, Novamont would not be here today and I would not be where I am.” Novamont, established in 1990 within the Montedison group to develop new products such as Mater-Bi, a biodegradable plastic of vegetable origin, is today a worldwide leading company in its sector.

Marco Fortis, on the contrary, head of the Ferruzzi group’s research department, met Gardini and experienced up close Gardini’s continuous elaboration of new ideas, “sometimes discussing them with colleagues until late at night,” as he said. “Already in ’86, that is before the conquest of Montedison, and the idea of combining chemistry and agriculture”- continues Fortis –“ in a Quaderno of the Ferruzzi group, there was talk of using agriculture not only for food but for industrial purposes as well. For example, as a way to drastically reduce the use of chemical products in crops.” The intensive use of fertilizers and pesticides, which in the meantime has reached record levels, remains one of the biggest problems for the agriculture of the future.

During the conference, a short film by the director Odino Artioli was screened as a tribute to Gardini and his ideas.