Improving sustainability in olive oil production

Farmers and consumers agree that the main purpose of farming is to provide affordable food to feed the world. At the same time, the majority says that environmental costs and associated resources have increased significantly over the past 50 years. In the Farm Network, a BASF partnership, we focus on topics relevant to farmers’ daily work, like efficient crop production, resource conservation and biodiversity support. In Greece, we partner with olive oil producer Molon Lave and use our AgBalance tool to assess and improve the sustainable agricultural practices in their olive groves.



For Molon Lave, a continuously improved sustainable agricultural practice is key to keeping their production viable, safeguarding their olive groves and their land for future generations. Using AgBalance® to comparatively assess two different approaches to growing olives, Molon Lave takes its sustainability commitment one step further: their ultimate goal is to create a standard system for sustainable olive production based on a combination of AgBalance® with a program currently under development by Aeiforiki SA to certify sustainable Olive groves, called LifeMax program.



The goal of this initial AgBalance® study is to compare the sustainability performance of two different olive grove management systems to identify their strengths, weaknesses and potentials for improvement. An agricultural management system that employs the average production situation of Molon Lave in Lakonia, Greece, is compared as a benchmark to the “sustainable olive grove project farm” located in Lira/Monemvasia, Greece, which uses alternative olive grove management practices.



% more yield 


% less CO2 emissions per kg of olives


% less potential for species loss


% less eutrophication from leaching of nitrogen


SDG 12 – Responsible Production and Consumption

With the AgBalance analysis we determine the impact of resource use for olive cultivation, like irrigation, fertilization or use of crop protection products and by comparing different systems can find the most balanced management system.

SDG 13 – Climate Protection Measures

One of the outcomes of this AgBalance study is the carbon footprint to olive cultivation. With this result farmers can optimize their agricultural inputs for climate smart farming.

SDG 15 – Life on Land

A clear focus of the sustainability farm is on biodiversity and preserving it on farm. The impact of the farming practices was assessed using the AgBalance Biodiversity Calculator.