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Ecosalt Project

Necton has struggled to insert management practices geared towards the improvement of environmental performance of the company and of its products as a very relevant strategic factor. Due to this philosophy, Necton approved in 2008 the “ECOSALT - Eco-labelling of Traditional Sea Salt and “Flor de Sal” (Flower of Salt)” project under the scope of the System of Incentives towards the Qualification and Internationalisation of PME of the National Strategic Frame (contract No. 2008/2038).

Through environmental accounting, Necton sought to identify, intervene, maximize, or minimize the positive / negative impacts that occur naturally from Necton’s production activity. The results of the ECOSALT project are summarized here, but for more information visit the oficial website - Ecosalt.
Eco-labelling and determination of environmental impacts

Under the ECOSALT project scope, eco-labels were developed for the “traditional sea salt” (TSS) and “flor de sal” (FS) food products seeking to determine the environmental impacts through two distinct methodologies called Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Ecological Footprint (EF). From the application of these two methodologies several conclusions were achieved:

1. Both the TSS and the FS were characterized as “eco-friendly” for their footprints were relatively more reduced when compared to their common counterparts;

2. From the LCA methodology application, the following was concluded: i) the TSS environmental impact is less than the FS environmental impact in over 20 themes and indicators; ii) within each production process, the packaging is what contributes the most to the final environmental impact being that in the TSS production it contributes to 76% and in the FS production it contributes to 68%. Furthermore, the packaging material is responsible for around half of the environmental impact of the packaging process; iii) product transportation has an extraordinary impact of around 90% for the total environmental impact, which is much more than the production process per se;

3. The application of the EF methodology allowed to show that the ecological footprint will equal, in this case, to the carbon footprint, since the impact of the carbon emissions have much more weight than the impacts from the occupation of land;

4. The environmental impacts from the production of TSS were also compared to the production impacts of sea salt from the forced evaporation of sea water by burning natural gas, however the environmental impacts were not less;

5. The environmental declarations included in the eco-label are the following:

Communication related to the eco-label

The communication of the environmental impacts in an eco-friendly product is an essential factor for decision at the buying time. If the consumer is informed that in the price a contribution is included to the preservation of ecologically sustainable practices, many people will be willing to buy the product.

Environmental communication was a focus point throughout the ECOSALT project since it allowed and will allow to increase the popularity of the company and the credibility of the products, becoming an internal driving force for the improvement of the energy efficiency of the activity.

To communicate the concept related to the eco-label, Necton S.A’s staff was present with a stand at the largest international fair of organic products called BIOFACH 2009 in Nuremberg (Germany).

The use of the label on the packaging displayed a strong sales argument with the average-high segment markets, allowing to reinforce the export component of the Necton products.
The ECOSALT project allowed to differentiate the products with the eco-label together with the competition products, in particular through the communication of the following:

- Technical superiority reached through work done by a team of specialists in order to achieve the implicit environmental declaration on the eco-label;
- Exclusivity, since the concept will take some time to be copied by the competition;
- Accessibility since the buyer won’t have to pay more for the product;
- Information, since the ECOSALT project allowed the increase of information and the awareness on the part of Customers and final consumers, which may bring them to adopt a more ethical consumption and ecological awareness posture at average term and tends on benefiting the companies such as Necton, who make environmental declarations about their products.

The ECOSALT project was co-financed by the System of Incentives towards the Qualification and Internationalisation of PME of the National Strategic Frame: