• The project, promoted and supported by the Bank in collaboration with Banco Alimentare, coordinates the efforts of various entities to provide those in difficulty with richly nutritious food that would otherwise go to waste
  • A national project promoting lawfulness; the only one of its kind in Europe
  • It started in Sicily, where, after an 18-month trial, more than 12 thousand kg of fish supplementing 83 thousand meals were recovered


Catania, 25 September 2020 – Today, Intesa Sanpaolo and Banco Alimentare presented the nationwide initiative “RE-FISHED: from illegal trade to charity”, aimed at recovering and processing seized fish and distributing it to charitable organisations, to the Mercati Agro Alimentari Sicilia (MAAS).

Intesa Sanpaolo, in collaboration with Banco Alimentare—a foundation that has already served as one of the Bank’s partners for several years, supporting its aim of recovering and collecting food to be redistributed to organisations that, in Italy, offer food and support for needy people—, is promoting and supporting this new project to ensure that this easily perishable yet highly nutritious food is given to those in social and financial difficulty.

Sicily was the first region in which the initiative took off thanks to the combined efforts of various entities, including: the Sicilian Port Authorities, the MASS (Mercati Agro Alimentari Sicilia), the Società Italiana di Medicina Veterinaria Preventiva, and charitable organisations affiliated with the Banco Alimentare network. In the first 18 months of trialling, the project resulted in the distribution of around 83,000 meals to people in need thanks to more than 12,000 kg of illegally caught fish being recovered.

Work is divided into different stages. After it is seized, the fish is preserved in suitable refrigeration units until it is certified as suitable for human consumption by the ASP within 24 – 48 hours. It is then transferred, using special refrigerated vans, to local cooperatives to be processed, frozen and, finally, distributed to charitable organisations in Sicily.

This project has a significant social impact and offers numerous benefits: it reduces food waste, protects health, complies with the law (the fish could otherwise be placed on the market illegally), and safeguards the local economy and employment.

The development of this project and its innovative recovery model can be extended beyond the region of Sicily to other coastal regions in Italy over the coming months, satisfying some of the major sustainable-development goals of the ONU 2030 agenda.

To mark the very first "International Day of Awareness for Food Loss and Waste", established by the United Nations on 29 September to raise awareness of the importance of this issue, RE-FISHED is a candidate to be named one of the best examples of best practice.

Elena Jacobs, Intesa Sanpaolo’s Head of Social Responsibility and Relations with Universities, says: “We are very happy with this new initiative, which sees us working with Banco Alimentare once again. Following our four-year partnership agreement and support provided for the Siticibo project, which enabled us to provide millions of meals to those in difficulty, this original and innovative initiative further solidifies the Bank’s commitment to those in need, as envisaged by the Business Plan. This complex, challenging project has, thanks to the collaborative efforts of various local, public and private entities, enabled us to achieve a number of the SDGs of the ONU 2030 agenda: combatting poverty, reducing inequality, protecting health, safeguarding the environment, reducing food waste, and promoting decent working conditions and economic growth”.

Giuseppe Parma, the General Director of Fondazione Banco Alimentare, says: “The partnership between Banco Alimentare and Intesa Sanpaolo is a historic one that has grown even stronger in recent years: the Bank has offered funding for innovative projects capable of establishing new ways of providing food support to people in need, as well as having a positive impact on social inclusion and the circular economy. Thanks to Intesa Sanpaolo’s support for the Re-Fished initiative, we have been able to organise the project from a structural point of view and use appropriate resources to manage it. Banco Alimentare considers this project evidence that profitable and non-profit organisations can work together to have a positive impact on whole communities by making resources available to one another, and by sharing expertise and ideas. Collaborations like this one strengthen our mission and open up new kinds of projects and ways of aiding people in difficulty”.


Media information

Intesa Sanpaolo

Media and Associations Relations

Media Office for Institutional, Social and Cultural Activities




About Intesa Sanpaolo 

Intesa Sanpaolo is one of the most solid and profitable banks in Europe, providing wealth management, consumer banking, corporate and investment banking, asset management and insurance. As the market leader in Italy, Intesa Sanpaolo serves nearly 12 million customers through digital and traditional channels. The Group’s international subsidiary banks provide for an additional 7.2 million customers in Central Eastern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. Intesa Sanpaolo is recognized as one of the most sustainable banks in the world.

The Group believes that value creation should be interpreted broadly, supporting social purpose and driving the real economy.  As part of its commitment to sustainable growth, Intesa Sanpaolo has created a €5 billion financing facility dedicated to the circular economy. The Group’s large-scale project for economic inclusion and poverty alleviation includes a Fund for Impact to provide €1.2 billion in loans to those parts of society that find access to credit difficult. Intesa Sanpaolo is deeply committed to cultural initiatives that it promotes on its own and together with partners in Italy and abroad, including permanent and temporary exhibits of the vast artistic patrimony at the Gallerie d’Italia, the Group’s three museums located in Milan, Naples and Vicenza. 

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