Circular Italy

Published on Tuesday, 20 February 2018

We can do it. The signing of the “Alliance for the Circular Economy” in Rome on November 29 was neither a declaration of intent nor a mere parade of good intentions. Rather it confirmed that Italy already has a network of companies that have launched circular economy projects on a very practical level.

Other companies will follow suit, but the process has already begun. And while institutional contacts are being made to coordinate efforts, the signatories have already begun the transition process set out in the manifesto “in which the value of products, materials and resources is maintained for as long as possible and waste production is minimised.” Not only can this commitment play a significant role in achieving the objectives laid out in the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, it will also make our economy more competitive and more sustainable.

Intesa Sanpaolo is working with Alliance sponsor Enel to encourage both business and consumers to transition to the circular economy: its initiatives include the launch of the Master’s in Circular Economy and Bioeconomy. Ferragamo has joined forces with Orange Fiber to create a range of textiles made using by-products of citrus fruit-pressing: a very Italian and very creative idea. Fater has developed and patented new recycling technology for nappies and other absorbent products. Novamont has set up the world’s first plant to make biobutanol from renewable resources and has also developed a family of completely biodegradable bioplastics.

Costa Crociere is focusing on aluminium recycling, which is particularly important in isolated environments like ships, and, through the “4 good food” project, it will reduce food waste aboard its fleet by 50%.

In addition to waste recycling, Eataly is concentrating on sustainability in selecting its suppliers. Bulgari has not only incentivised separated waste collection, but also the choice of materials that are as recyclable and regional as possible. 

Here at Enel we incorporated the circularity philosophy into the business quite some time ago, applying it in a broad-ranging manner. Renewable resources, on which we have a strong focus, are an example of circular energy. Not forgetting either Futur-e, the project we have most openly and clearly linked to the circular economy. It is essentially a plan to upgrade 23 thermoelectric power stations with the involvement of local communities.

The Sustainable Building Sites project centres around creating circularity in both the choice of the materials and their recovery after use. Our Vehicle to Grid is of huge innovative value as it allows electric cars to feed unused electric power back into the grid – another example of circular energy.

Furthermore we have also developed a method for measuring circularity, the CirculAbility© Model, and we are continuing our work on raising awareness of the concept, through conferences, publications and a whole dedicated section on our website. Because we believe that applying the principles of the circular economy is the only possible route to competitivity and sustainability.  

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