Ballarini presents the 188, the green collection that reinterprets the "zero km" concept
The number has specific significance: the 188 range is the product of a virtuous supply chain that remains within 188 km of the Ballarini Spa production site. As a result, the number of km travelled is reduced by 78% compared with standard supply chains used to provide the raw materials for this type of collection. The 188 collection therefore represents a reinterpretation of the ZERO KM concept by the engineering company. A company which, in the name of environmental sustainability, makes investments driven by the belief that it must contribute to the growth of the community and therefore shun suppliers who, even if more competitive, are based further away. Based on the assumption that, by their very nature, the major engineering firms are not distributed evenly across the country, head of marketing Angelo Ballarini asserts: "We have often considered the concept of "zero km" and felt excluded from this sales approach. 70% of our products are exported around the world as symbols of Italian culinary knowhow. Each year we manufacture 12 million top-quality utensils, durable goods which, as such, cannot be absorbed by the "zero km" market". In order to address the issue in a serious and concrete manner, it was necessary to invert the meaning of 'zero km' sales. "We decided to set ourselves a challenge and create a collection which was seemingly incompatible with the notion of 'zero km purchasing'," continues Alessia Gorni Silvestrini, head of communications and the brains behind the 188 project. The professional contribution of Ballarini's R&D department, one of the most advanced of its kind in the world, was of fundamental importance. "The 188 collection necessitated an in-depth analysis of the local area to find suppliers that could meet the company's quality standards," explains Jacopo Ferron, head of the department and Italian representative on the ECS (European Committee for Standardisation). Although many years have passed, Chairman Emilio Ballarini still likes to recall the era in which the company was heavily focused on local sales; he loves to reminisce about how Ballarini contributed to the reconstruction of Italy in the post-war years by, among other things, fusing scrap metal left over from the war effort to produce pans. These utensils were then loaded onto horse-drawn carriages and sold in nearby towns, Milan being the most attractive destination. In reality, the pans never reached their final destination because the entire load would sell out as it moved from town to town. As well as the reduced supply chain of all of its raw materials, the 188 range also stands out for its fundamental ecological qualities, which are certified and guaranteed by the environmental label that comes with all of its products. Ballarini took its first steps towards sustainability in 2004 when it obtained certification testifying to its compliance with the UNI EN ISO 14001 environmental management standard. It remains the only company in the industry to have attained this certification.