Located in the heart of Belluno’s Dolomites, Agordo is home to the first and main production plant of the world’s largest eyewear company: Luxottica. In 2020, the company decided to embark on a process to reduce its emissions and improve its climate and environmental performance, also by supporting projects that generate positive impacts in the area where it operates. These include the project to restore the forest damaged by the Vaia storm.
By transforming a traumatic event into an opportunity, the intervention supported by Luxottica aims to restore the damaged forest, but also to improve it from a hydrogeological, environmental and landscape point of view.
At the end of October 2018, an unprecedented storm, the Vaia storm, crashed millions of trees, causing severe environmental and socio-economic damage to the communities in the affected areas. In total, 42,000 hectares of forests in North-East Italy were damaged by the storm, which affected around 500 municipalities. In Agordo, the Vaia storm crashed about 70% of the trees surrounding the municipality, completely transforming the landscape and causing serious problems for the Agordo community.
The forest restoration project supported by Luxottica is not simply limited to replanting the crashed trees, but includes more structured actions to restore the forest, such as: removing the crashed trees to enhance their productive value and reduce the phytosanitary risk linked to the proliferation of the Bostrico; supporting the natural regeneration of the forest, i.e. the rebirth and spontaneous growth of new trees and shrubs; planting approximately 2,000 trees to speed up the process of consolidating the areas most at risk of erosion,while also increasing the biodiversity of the area. In addition, this intervention mitigates the impact of Luxottica’s activities on the environment, bringing a real benefit in terms of CO2 capture and conservation. This benefit is measured through the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) Ecosystem Services Procedure.
With the aim of restoring an area of more than 30 hectares, the forest restoration project supported by Luxottica represents the largest forest restoration project financed by a private company in the areas affected by Vaia. A project that is participatory and transparent, involving numerous private owners of the affected area, local professionals, specialised companies and the municipal administration for the benefit of the Agordo’s community and its natural heritage.
Restoring the areas affected by the Vaia storm requires quick and careful action, with a scientific approach that assesses the necessary interventions on a case-by-case basis and involves local institutions and professionals. Etifor has supported Luxottica in conceiving, developing and implementing this innovative project aimed at generating positive impacts on the territory, which the company can now use in its sustainability reporting systems. Moreover, through the WOWnature platform, Etifor promotes both the planting of new trees and the management and care of the area for the following years.