Allegrini 2018

If Italy turns out to be greener: 300,000 companies invested in the green economy in 2019

At WineNews the president of Fondazione Symbola, Ermete Realacci: “wine as metaphor for the meeting of green economy, quality, beauty and territories"

The green economy has been, in these difficult years, the best response to the crisis, a road that looks ahead and addresses the challenges of the future by crossing the deep nature of our economy: the drive for quality and beauty, social cohesion, natural allies of the efficient use of energy and matter, innovation, high-tech. A courageous and successful evolution of a system started “from below”, which is based on investments and produces work, supports the cohesion of communities and is intertwined with the territory, as told by the tenth GreenItaly Report of the Fondazione Symbola and Unioncamere - promoted in collaboration with Conai, Ecopneus and Novamont, with the partnership of Si.Camera and Ecocerved and with the patronage of the Ministry of the Environment and Protection of Land and Sea - which measures and weighs the strength of the national green economy, telling an acceleration towards the green of the Italian entrepreneurial system, with a study on over 300 stories of circular economy. Record for eco-investments in 2019, when the share reached a value of 21.5%, corresponding to an absolute value of almost 300,000 companies and 7.2% higher than in 2011.
More than 432,000 Italian industrial and service companies with employees have invested in the period 2015-2018, or are planning to do so by the end of 2019 in green products and technologies to reduce environmental impact, save energy and contain CO2 emissions. In practice, almost one in three Italian companies, 31.2% of the entire extra-agricultural entrepreneurship. And in manufacturing, there are more than one in three (35.8%). This year alone, almost 300,000 companies have invested, or intend to invest by December, in sustainability and efficiency. “In Italy, an important part of the economy and society is on the right track - Ermete Realacci, president of the Fondazione Symbol, who presented the GreenItaly report today in Rome, told WineNews - beyond the support of politics. In the last ten years, an important part of Italian companies, accounting for one third of the total, have invested in renewable sources, energy saving, recovery and reuse of materials, process and product innovations, in all production sectors. Agriculture, in some ways, produces one of the most effective metaphors of what is the crossroads, very Italian, between green economy, quality, beauty and link with the territories, which is the history of wine. The wine affair has anticipated what has happened in many other sectors: as a result of the dramatic crisis of methanol, in 1986, there was a reversal of course, wanted more by society and businesses than by politics, which even raised the level of controls, so that today we produce much less wine than in the eighties, but that generates a much higher value. The ability to produce wines starting from our uniqueness - adds Realacci - for example the native vines, or the diversity of our soils and our climates, has been an example followed, in a certain sense, by many other sectors, especially manufacturing, such as glasses, shoes, mechatronics: a passage in which quality, beauty, innovation have taken the place of quality while reducing the environmental impact”.
This is what GreenItaly measures, especially in terms of long-term growth and change. “The Greta generation needs answers rather than caresses. Much is changing, even if too slowly. When 10 years ago we published the first GreenItaly - says the president of the Foundation Symbola - in the world there were 25 GW of photovoltaic installed: today the GW has become 660. The technology has made enormous progress and in these 10 years the cost of electricity from photovoltaics, says Unep, has fallen by 81%, and that of wind power by 46%. It is already in the field of a more sustainable economy on a human scale that combines innovation and quality with values and social cohesion, research and technology with design and beauty, industry 4.0 and ancient knowledge. A production and social model that offers our country the opportunity to have a significant international role: already today Italy is the European superpower in the circular economy with 79% of total waste sent for recycling and has a much higher incidence than all other major European countries: France is 55%, the United Kingdom 49%, Germany 43%. The Italian green economy is the most advanced frontier for seizing these opportunities. It is an Italy that makes Italy, that does not lose its soul and is at the same time innovative and able to face the challenges of the future, without leaving anyone behind, without leaving anyone alone”.
“The 10 editions of GreenItaly show how the attention to sustainability and the environment of the Italian economic system has grown year after year”, said the Secretary General of Unioncamere, Giuseppe Tripoli. “The figures speak for themselves. One in three companies has embarked on the road to sustainability, 90,000 more than last year. And this choice translates into greater productivity and competitiveness and more capacity for innovation and exports. An interesting fact is that the companies of young people under 35, who in half of the cases have focused on the green economy, are also contributing greatly to this acceleration. In the next 5 years, the circular and sustainable economy will offer one in 5 job opportunities in both the private and public sectors. In short, the turn of the Italian economy towards sustainability and the environment is in full swing and Italy is ahead of the other European economies”.

Focus - Coldiretti, Italian agriculture is the greenest in Europe
From records in sustainability to leadership in quality, from records in food safety to the boom in organic farming, Italian agriculture is now the greenest in Europe, with growth that fuels its success throughout the world. This is what emerges from an analysis of Coldiretti/Symbola published on the occasion of the presentation of the Greenitaly Report. Italy is at the top of the world for areas cultivated with organic farming, recalls Coldiretti, with 1.95 million hectares in 2018, equal to 15.5% of the agricultural area, but it is also a global leader in quality production with 5,155 traditional agri-food products, and with 20% more products with denomination of origin (PDO, PGI) than France and 147% more than those registered by Spain. The Belpaese, Coldiretti continues, is also a record for food safety. Among the five most important European states from the agricultural point of view, Italy is, in fact, the one with the lowest number of products with chemical residues beyond the limits of the law, with just 0.8% of the total against 1.3% of the EU average or 5.5% of non-EU products.
Italian agriculture is also among the most sustainable, continues Coldiretti, with just 7.2% of all emissions at national level with a downward trend of -1% since 2012 compared to the growth recorded instead in France (+0.85%) Germany (+2.11%), United Kingdom (+2.29%) and with the negative record of Spain (+10.55%). And the country, according to the Coldiretti/Symbola analysis, can also boast important results in the field of circular economy and renewable energy, given that Italy, with 822,301 photovoltaic plants in 2018 with a total power of 20,108 MW, is the European leader in energy consumption from renewable sources with 18.3% of the total compared to 17.5% in Spain or 15.5% in Germany and is also the fourth largest producer of biogas in the world with over two thousand plants in operation, of which three out of four are powered by residues of agricultural origin. “The records of the made in Italy at the table are a recognition of the role of the agricultural sector for the sustainable growth of the country - says the president of Coldiretti Ettore Prandini - and Italian agriculture is also a strategic resource to start a new season of economic development and work. Italy must therefore defend its agricultural heritage and its availability of fertile land with adequate social, cultural and economic recognition of the role of the activity in the countryside also because with the closure of a farm, along with the loss of jobs and income also lacks the irreplaceable role of defense of the territory”.

Focus - Green economy
The companies of this GreenItaly have a dynamism on foreign markets much higher than the rest of the Italian production system: with specific reference to manufacturing companies (5-499 employees), 51% of eco-investors reported an increase in exports in 2018, against the smaller 38% of those who have not invested. These companies innovate more than the others: 79% have developed innovation activities, against 61% of non-investors. Innovation that also looks at Impresa 4.0: while among eco-investment companies 36% have already adopted or are carrying out projects to implement measures related to the program Impresa 4.0, the non-investor ones are 18%.

Green Jobs: employment and innovation
In 2018 the number of green jobs in Italy exceeded the threshold of 3 million: 3,100,000 units, 13.4% of total employment (in 2017 it was 13.0%). Green employment in 2018 grew by more than 100 thousand units compared to 2017, with an increase of +3.4% compared to +0.5% for other professional figures. The green economy is also an age issue. In fact, an important boost to our manufacturing system towards environmental sustainability is given by young entrepreneurs: among the companies led by under 35, 47% have made eco-investments, compared to 23 of the over 35. Green economy also means social care: 56% of green companies are cohesive companies, that is, investing in the economic and social well-being of their workers and the community to which they belong by relating with local players (other companies, stakeholders, non-profit organizations, etc..), among the companies that do not make green investments, however, the cohesive are 48%.

European leadership in environmental performance
GreenItaly companies, including SMEs, have pushed the entire national production system and the country towards European leadership in environmental performance. Leadership that pairs up with our international records in competitiveness. These more than 430,000 companies have given Italy a leadership in sustainability that we can measure, noting that our industrial system, with 14.8 tonnes of oil equivalent per million euro produced, is the second largest of the large EU countries in terms of energy input per unit of product: behind Great Britain (13.7, which, however, has an economy led by finance) but ahead of France (15.6), Spain (17.3) and Germany (17.8). The same applies to material inputs: with 285.9 tonnes per million euro produced, we are behind Great Britain (240.1) but ahead of France (340.5), Spain (355.3) and Germany (399.1). We are the most efficient in reducing waste: our companies produce 43.2 tons per million euros, Spanish companies 54.7, British companies 63.7, German 67.4 and French 77.4. In addition to waste, the climate-changing emissions: with 97.3 tons of CO₂ equivalent per million euros, do better than us than France (80.9, strong of nuclear power) and the United Kingdom (95.1) while we distance Spain (125.5) and especially Germany (127.8). The attention of companies to the environment can also be seen in the growth of green patents in Italy: a total of 3,500 (10% of European patents). With an increase of 22% in the period 2006-2015, and a dynamic in contrast to the trend of patents in general. Italy is the third country in the world, after China and Japan and ahead of Spain, Germany, France but also the USA, for the number of ISO 14001 certifications.

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