Riso Gallo: An Example of Food for Good

Riso Gallo, the food company that has made sustainability a cornerstone of its actions, has embraced a very high social impact project. The vision is clear and straightforward: democratizing access to innovation and distinguishing itself through social entrepreneurship are essential. We spoke with Emanuele Preve, Riso Gallo’s CFO. He shared the company’s vision of innovation and explained why they chose to support the Deep Impact project for education and empowerment in developing countries. CSR can be not only a moral obligation but also a strategic investment in long-term success.

The mission of the School of Disruption is to democratize access to innovation by breaking down the socio-economic barriers that make STEM education a privilege of the few. Only in this way, and only with the support of key stakeholders, can we generate global change.

Emanuele Preve, CFO of RISO GALLO

In the traditional food sector, what role does innovation play? And how is it linked to sustainability?

Innovation in the food industry is undeniably tied to creating new products that meet consumers’ changing needs. Lately, we’ve focused on sustainable agriculture, especially in rice processing where waste is minimal, making it naturally sustainable. But our innovation goes beyond products. We also keep up with market trends in both what we offer and how we package it. This proactive stance helps us not only meet but surpass consumer expectations while staying environmentally friendly.

Riso Gallo is a family-owned company that was established in 1859 and, after over 150 years, continues to be among the world leaders in rice.

How do you remain competitive in an ever-evolving market? And what would you advise to those companies struggling to keep pace?

Certainly, we’ve successfully combined innovation with tradition. Maintaining a consistently high standard of brand and product quality has been key.
This not only strengthens our relationships with distributors but also resonates with end customers.
In essence, it’s about striking a balance between honoring our heritage and embracing new technologies and practices to meet the demands of an ever-changing market. For companies struggling to keep pace, my advice would be to focus on authenticity, quality, and adaptability. Embrace your roots while being open to innovation.

Riso Gallo supports the Deep Impact initiative, which involves assisting the education of individuals facing economic difficulties from developing countries.

How can these initiatives serve as a model for creating a virtuous circle of growth and contribute to the formation of the next generation of leaders?

Projects like DEEP IMPACT are undoubtedly valuable. I believe initiatives of this kind should be increasingly widespread and embraced because we need innovation to be truly inclusive and accessible to all. The cross-pollination of diverse cultures and backgrounds is the key to creating something unique, to generate change.

Environmental sustainability is a central and widely debated theme, but social sustainability and the inseparable connection between the two are often overlooked.

How crucial is it for a company to pioneer initiatives with a social impact?

Social support is undoubtedly crucial, and everyone should contribute where they can, leveraging their expertise. In our case, our focus is particularly on the local community in which we operate, as it’s where we draw our strength from.
We believe in giving back to the regions that nurture us, not only as a moral obligation but also as a strategic investment in our long-term success. By supporting local initiatives, such as education programs, community development projects, and initiatives to alleviate poverty, we aim to foster positive social change and create a more equitable society.

Adopting Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) by a company can not only enhance its reputation but also position it distinctly in a market where consumers are increasingly sensitive and attentive to the ethical values of companies.

What are the three main drivers that can inspire other companies to better understand the importance of innovation, CSR, and social sustainability?

I believe that definitely changing perspectives and trying to see the company from an external point of view can help identify valuable insights in these areas. Developing and implementing sustainability reports will certainly aid in these processes.

Companies that prioritize sustainability and social responsibility often experience tangible benefits, including improved brand reputation, increased customer loyalty, and enhanced employee morale. Moreover, investing in innovation and CSR can lead to cost savings, operational efficiencies, and access to new markets and business opportunities. By understanding these potential benefits, companies are more motivated to embrace CSR as strategic imperatives rather than just corporate obligations.

Companies with a mature approach to CSR intervene both internally (in the packaging of their products and in corporate welfare) and externally, supporting concrete projects such as funding research projects or knowledge transfer, or other manifestations of environmental or social solidarity.

What do you think is the level of awareness within the food industry’s entrepreneurial fabric regarding these issues?

I believe there is still much work to be done, especially within the food industry’s entrepreneurial fabric, regarding awareness of CSR and sustainability issues. Many companies tend to focus primarily on innovating existing products or processes, rather than fully embracing the concept of pure innovation that extends to social and environmental responsibility.

Take a look at the Deep Impact program:

Read more on the topic:

STEM Education goals in developing countries

The Disruptive Landscape of Education: knowledge transfer for a global growth

How Design for Accessibility Drives Innovation

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