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Aboca: sustainability and innovation with an eye to tradition

An innovative and sustainable business vision, combining environmental care and scientific research, makes Aboca a pioneer in many respects, from biodiversity to corporate social responsibility.

reading time5 minutes

Going against the tide often anticipates the future… This could summarise the story of the visionary Tuscan entrepreneur Valentino Mercati, founder and chairman of Aboca, a historic Made in Italy healthcare company that is today a Benefit Company and one of the first BCorp-certified companies in Italy.

Nature has everything you need

This is a story of love for nature and study of botany that began in 1978 when Valentino Mercati, born in 1939 in Sansepolcro, (Arezzo), after working for years as a car salesman, decided to change his life to dedicate himself to medicinal herbs. Underlying this choice is the conviction that plant substances are essential for well-being and the treatment of diseases. So, at a time when it seemed that chemistry could provide all the answers, Mercati founded Aboca Italia to produce 100% natural healthcare products while respecting the environment. He believes that ‘nature has everything you need!’ but that rigorous scientific research methods must be applied to the world of plant substances.

An innovative and sustainable business vision, against the tide at the time, that makes Mercati, a true pioneer of the circular economy, corporate social responsibility, and biodiversity.

‘Our challenge,’ Davide Mercati explains in an interview with Italia che Cambia, ‘has been to bring natural medicine based on the use of plants into the realm of modern, clinical, evidence-based allopathic medicine. We have been a kind of ferryman who has brought the world of medicinal plants out of the tradition of so-called alternative medicine and into the scientific world’.

Circular Economy and Sustainability

Aboca manages the production process at all stages, from cultivation to processing, and continuously invests in research and development. It can count on 1,700 hectares of land devoted to the cultivation of more than 60 species of medicinal plants, which are transformed into around 100,000 kilograms of dried extracts for a range of more than one hundred products, not to mention the thirty-two international patents filed. Above all, the company operates in the name of social responsibility and circularity and, as a B-corp, is committed to combining economic profit with the goals of common good, environmental sustainability and social performance. As you can easily imagine, Aboca’s activity has turned into an important activity for the protection of biodiversity, but not only.

When business rhymes with culture

The company’s commitment is also important from a cultural point of view. Since 2002, the Aboca Museum has been disseminating the centuries-old culture of medicinal plants, while the unique Antiqua Library collects thousands of valuable old books, especially herbals, documenting the evolution of medicinal plant knowledge. Finally, the Aboca publishing house circulates publications on important ecological and environmental sustainability issues.

For his merits, President Napolitano appointed Valentino Mercati Cavaliere del Lavoro in 2014. In 2016, he received an honorary degree in Plant and Microbial Biotechnology from the University of Pisa. Mercati is also a founding member of Associazione Rondine.

Today, the Aboca Group is a leading producer of natural supplements and pharmaceutical products without chemical synthesis. It has more than 1700 employees and produces in Italy. Its turnover is more than 300 million euros, and it invests tens of millions in research. It sells in 26 countries worldwide.

Congratulations to those who bring Italian tradition and innovation to the world!

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