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SheepToShip LIFE – Sardinia is transforming itself into a sustainability workshop

The SheepToShip LIFE project is underway. Sardinia is transforming itself into an experimental laboratory on the eco-sustainability of farming systems in Europe. Its objective is ambitious: to identify and implement innovative solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the meat industry and Sardinian dairy sheep industry in order to improve the environmental sustainability of the entire sector.

Donatella Spano, the regional Minister of environmental protection, underlined that one of the main expectations is to obtain useful operative guidance to then transfer to regional strategies. Sardinia was chosen as the project intervention area as it is highly representative of the Mediterranean sheep farming industry both in terms of quantity and coexistence, given the restricted size of the territory.

Through Life Cycle Assessment methodology, SheepToShip LIFE will set out to understand the environmental implications of milk produced according to the most common farming systems and PDO cheese made from sheep milk such as Pecorino Romano, Pecorino Sardo and Fiore Sardo. This will be done by examining a sample consisting of two hundred sheep farms and ten of the island’s cheese factories in order to identify critical environmental problems of the production processes.

For Pierpaolo Duce, head of IBIMET-CNR (Institute of Biometeorology of the National Research Council of Sassari), the aim of the project is to demonstrate environmental, economic and social benefits of eco-innovation of the farming industry and dairy sheep industry as well as promote environmental and rural development policies oriented towards life cycle thinking, a complex approach to sustainability that takes all aspects into account, including consumption.

The project has a total budget of 2,610,000 euros and the partners are IBIMET-CNR (leader), ISPAAM-CNR, Agris Sardegna, LAORE (Regional Agency for Agricultural Development), the Department of Environmental Protection of the Autonomous Region of Sardinia and the Faculties of Agriculture and Economics and Business of the University of Sassari. The project will last for four years.