Green Supply Chains



Policy areas

Organisation name Ljubljana Tourism

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Contact person: Neža Semič, Tourism Product Coordinator

The project Green Supply Chains falls under the sector of sustainable development of tourism. It aims to pursue this mission by raising awareness on the importance of consuming fresh, locally produced food to stimulate the local economy and reduce the carbon footprint. It is focused on environment protection, achieving sustainable effects by shortening supply chains and so reducing emissions, on economic development by reducing the use of fertilisers and other chemicals, and fostering the local economy. The project enables easy access of the tourism industry (hotels, restaurants) to local farmers and vice versa via a rural development cooperative, which acts as a linkage and facilitates the communication between the parties involved. An innovative purchasing platform was also set up as a one-stop shop, displaying current offers, prices and producers.

The Green Supply Chains project links and puts local food producers – including small ones – in contact with hotels and restaurants, bringing fresh, top-quality and environmentally friendly local ingredients to the tables around the city. This new cooperation model sees the public body as the main partner and financer, the private cooperative as the main facilitator, the restaurants and hotels as consumers and the farmers as suppliers. In this framework, prices are negotiated on behalf of more clients and larger quantities are purchased, making the products’ cost, quality and quantity acceptable both for farmers and businesses. In this way, no imported goods are sold in the project.

In addition to connecting the various parties involved, the role of Tourism Ljubljana is also to raise awareness on the importance of locally produced food and the tradition of Ljubljana and Slovenian food. This is being achieved through a series of culinary themed guided tours and experiences. Tourism Ljubljana have developed a website where new recipes, novelties in the city and the promotion of local culinary offers are regularly posted. It has designed further activities and initiatives to promote the project and pursue its mission, such as a culinary calendar, distributed to hotels and restaurants via a newsletter on a monthly basis, with three recipes based on seasonal, local ingredients and the list of the farms that produce these ingredients. Ljubljana Breakfast has been launched, encouraging restaurants to serve locally sourced breakfast ingredients instead of croissant and juice, and finally, there is the ‘Yummy Market’, a walking tour where visitors get the chance to taste seasonal products from local farmers and growers, which ends with a fresh, tasty, locally produced breakfast in one of the cafés and restaurants in the market’s neighbourhood.

The short supply chains have positive effects on several perspectives of the sustainable development of the city of Ljubljana and its wider region in the economy; it influences the environment of social relationships, the direction followed by the city of Ljubljana for more than a decade.

Ljubljana Tourism is aware of the ever-increasing recognition of the concept of sustainable tourism development and the inquiries made by the tourists themselves on sustainable products. The project has contributed to some of the key areas of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development:

  • Inclusive and sustainable economic growth: with this project cash flow was diverted from multinational companies selling imported food to local farmers, bringing economic benefits to the local community.
  • Social inclusiveness, employment and poverty reduction: tourists nowadays seek authentic experiences they can immerse in, and visiting farmers who participate in the project can be one of those.
  • Resource efficiency, environmental protection and climate change: by shortening the transport route from the producer to the consumer and supporting the ‘farm to fork’ zero km philosophy, Ljubljana has reduced the impacts of tourism on the environment. By enabling daily deliveries, goods are purchased more rationally and in line with current needs, hence reducing the amount of food that perishes or is never served.

The project received two major awards: the Premik Naprej 2018 (Moving Forward 2018) award by the Faculty of Administration for the most progressive and innovative project in the public sector, and an international award for best sustainable and innovative practice in the cities category from Green Destinations, awarded at ITB Berlin, one of the most important tourism trade fairs in the world.

Despite the success of the project, the team experienced some challenges. Initially, when analysing the needs of the tourism industry regarding locally produced food, it was found out that hotels and restaurants believed it was too expensive and too complicated having to negotiate prices and quantities with individual farmers. Ljubljana managed to develop a system that simplified the procedure and brings benefits, not only to local farmers who sold their products to clients but also to the visitors of Ljubljana city who could enjoy healthier, more wholesome, fresher food and ingredients in many hotels and restaurants.

Although there are many farmers and producers in the vicinity of Ljubljana, a study at the start of the Green Supply Chains project showed that hotels and restaurants faced too many obstacles when purchasing stock directly from them. Therefore, Ljubljana Tourism started organising face-to-face meetings, called the Locally Grown Food Exchange, between suppliers (farmers, producers) and buyers (hotels, restaurants). The aim of the exchange was for those involved to get to know the offer, meet each other in person and sign agreements.

The number of participants slowly increased, and the ratio between buyers and suppliers changedd. To achieve this change, Ljubljana Tourism and partners worked hard to promote the event among potential buyers. This is not monitoring the number of agreements signed or quantities of goods sold, but monitoring the general satisfaction informally, mostly by collecting on-site feedback.

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