EU Science Hub

Best practices in improving the sustainability of agriculture

EU at EXPO Milano 2015
Jul 06 2015
Jul 06 2015

Through a workshop taking place at the EU Pavillion of EXPO Milano, the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) and the Directorate-General for Environment (DG ENV) will showcase some of the outcomes of the development of an EMAS Sectoral Reference Document on Best Environmental Management Practice for the agriculture sector. This work, developed by the JRC over the past 2 years with the involvement of a large number of experts from the sector, describes best practices that the agricultural sector can implement to improve its environmental performance, and contribute to sustainable food production.

Update (9/7/2015): The presentations and poster from the event have been uploaded on this page.


The JRC work on Best Environmental Management Practice for the agriculture sector
The JRC is developing a guidance document intended to assist professionals in the agriculture sector to improve the environmental sustainability of farms. Working in partnership with experts from the sector, the JRC has identified and described a collection of "Best Environmental Management Practices" i.e. a description of state-of-the-art techniques which are already in use by some companies of the field which are best environmental performers in that area.
This activity is part of the European Commission's work to develop Sectoral Reference Documents under the EU Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS), a voluntary framework for companies and other organisations to evaluate, report and improve their environmental performance.
The event
The workshop will take place at the EU Pavilion of EXPO Milano 2015 on 6 July 2015 from 11.00 to 13.30. It will showcase some of the best practices identified in three key areas for agriculture:
  • Soil quality management: Maintaining good soil quality is critical for resource-efficient farming. Soil itself is a key resource, so avoiding its degradation represents a crucial component of resource efficiency. Soil also strongly influences productivity and nutrient use efficiency.
  • Nutrient management planning: Nutrients are often applied significantly above the economic optimum level, and considerably above the environmental optimum level, owing to inadequate accounting for organic and soil nutrient supplies when calculating synthetic fertiliser application rates.
  • Irrigation: Water use is a major environmental pressure exerted by agriculture in water scarce areas. It is thus crucial to effectively calculate the crop water requirements and carefully choose the water delivery equipment used.
The workshop will host four guest speakers, with extensive experience in best practices in sustainable agriculture, who have contributed to the development of this work and will present best environmental practices in the three key areas. The target audience for the event is stakeholders of the agriculture sector, namely farm advisors, farmers' sectorial associations and academics.



11.00-11.20Welcome and overview

Paolo Canfora (JRC) and S├ębastien Paquot (DG ENV)

Katarina Hedlund (Lund University, member of the Scientific Steering Committee of the EU participation in EXPO Milan 2015)

Presentation on Introduction and Overview

11.20-12.00Soil quality management

Introduction and chair of the session: Ioannis Antonopoulos (JRC)

Guest speaker: Katarina Hedlund (Lund University)

Presentation on Soil Quality Management

12.00-12.40Nutrient management planning

Introduction and chair of the session: Pierre Gaudillat (JRC)

Guest speaker: David Styles (Bangor University)

Presentation on Nutrient Management Planning


Introduction and chair of the session: Marco Dri (JRC)

Guest speakers: Alberto Pardossi (Pisa University), Daniele Massa (CRA-VIV)

Presentation on Irrigation


Paolo Canfora (JRC)


Networking lunch





Download the  poster/infographics published for the event.



Access to the event will be by registration only. Please note that submission of your request does not constitute final registration yet. You will be informed of the outcome of your request for registration a few days after submitting your request.

To submit your request for registration please:

  1. Create an ECAS (European Commission Authentication Service) account, if you do not have one already, at the following link: (this includes verifying your e-mail address)
  2. Once you have created your account, please complete the form which corresponds to this meeting via the link below:

Need help? Look at this step-by-step guide.


Practical information

The event will take place at the EU Pavilion of the EXPO in Milan (Expo Milano Location map). See the Logistics guidelines Expo.pdf  document for information on opening times, access, how to reach the place and further practical information .

The workshop will be held in English. Simultaneous interpretation into Italian will be provided.

Attendance at the event is free, but subject to registration (see above). There are still few places available and for participants who will receive confirmation of attendance to the workshop, entrance ticket to the EXPO for the day of the event will be provided by the organisers.


The EU at EXPO Milano 2015

Expo Milano 2015 will be the first World Expo to take place in Europe in 15 years and its theme, "Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life", is of vital importance for Europe and the world. As a global player in the debate on food and sustainability, the European Union (EU) seeks to reinforce its position, highlights its achievements and, most importantly, takes this opportunity to work towards finding common solutions to these issues with other international organisations, countries and private stakeholders. The EU leads the way in terms of promoting quality food and ensuring food security and safety and environmental sustainability. More information is available at the EU at EXPO Milano website.