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A cross-border coffee brand that’s brewing innovation

distributor. Now, its Albanian arm has taken its first steps into greener production.

Rihannon Edwards


Without finance to back companies to make positive environmental changes, we won’t reach our climate goals.

This is the reason Intesa Sanpaolo is using financing across its territorial banks to drive sustainability changes in business. 

A recent example is Intesa Sanpaolo Albania’s financing of Pascucci Albania, a 140-year-old Italian brand that has been operating in the country since 2008. The bank assisted with a EUR 2.4M investment plan to build a photovoltaic power system and purchase 19 electric vehicles. 

"This investment maximised cost efficiency with lower running costs. But it’s not just about lowering energy bills. Becoming a CO2-neutral company is necessary because our customers are increasingly looking for sustainable products, accommodation and services."

Makeljana Smakaj, a partner at Pascucci Albania

“We conduct our business with respect and integrity. Prioritising the interests of our employees, partners and customers, we aim to continuously create added value.”

A solid basis for success

When assessing businesses for lending suitability, Intesa Sanpaolo considers how well they have prepared to defend against market fluctuations – in short, how well they have diversified. 

In Albania, Pascucci has increased its range of products, adding organic teas to its coffee offering. This expansion enables the company to diversify against the risk of exposure to a single product – even if it is successful, such as Pascucci’s coffee.

But the company has gone one step further. It has for some years been the owner and operator of a luxury hotel in Durres, a historic coastal city on the Adriatic Sea.

“Prioritising the interests of our employees, partners and customers, we aim to continuously create added value,” says Ms Smakaj. “We are creative and we’re initiators because we want to stand out. 

“We are constantly looking for new ideas with the aim of leaving the competition behind and contributing to the long-term success of the company.”

Alessandro Grillo, head of Corporate & SME at Intesa Sanpaolo Bank Albania, says: “In line with our group business plan – which emphasises a genuine, meaningful commitment to ESG and making the circular economy a reality – we are really proud to support Pascucci in its green transition. 

“The aims of Pascucci are consistent with our group's philosophy of cross border growth that also seeks to protect our planet.”

Historic brands can innovate

Pascucci’s beginnings date back to 1883, when Antonio Pascucci, a descendant of weavers, started in food products, one of which was unroasted coffee imported from England. 

In 1935 Alberto Pascucci continued the business started by his father Antonio, opening the family store in Monte Cerignone, Pesaro e Urbino, which would later become the place where the Pascucci brand would grow. The climate in the area provides the optimal balance for the moisture of the unroasted coffee bean.

In the 1950s, the first production plant was installed to roast the coffee at scale, and in 1963 Alberto assembled the first roaster with indirect fire, which produced a homogeneous roasting suitable for espresso coffee. 

In 2000, the brand grew into direct retail with a series of Caffe Pascucci shops, the only point of sale for the Pascucci brand.

In 2008, the brand was introduced to the Albanian market, with Adrian Bardhi as sole partner. He worked with Alberto Pascucci directly and dedicated himself to introducing and distributing the Pascucci brand in Albania. Today, it is the market leader of coffee brands in the country. 

This year the company won one of Intesa Sanpaolo Albania’s awards for its commitment to ESG. The awards recognise the best business models and allow companies further development and visibility at a national level.

Alice Grittini, Intesa Sanpaolo Group’s head of sustainable development, says: “We believe the Pascucci deal is a very important transaction – I would say a landmark to be followed by others.
“We want to ensure our clients are keen to do business with us. But more importantly, we want to create sustainable value while innovating the way we do business.”

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