Italy’s green economy grew despite the economic crisis, going from strength to strength and spreading sustainable practices and circular business models to the very fabric of the national industrial sector.
This model of competitiveness was reflected in the findings of the ninth GreenItaly Report, compiled by the Symbola Foundation and Unioncamere, in partnership with Conai and Novamont and under the patronage of the Ministry for Environment, Land and Sea Protection. The study, which measures the strength of the national Green Economy, was presented at a conference in Rome on 30 October addressed by our CEO Francesco Starace.
The theme of energy efficiency and energy production from renewable sources is one of GreenItaly’s central focuses: as the study highlights, Italy leads the large EU nations when it comes to the percentage of renewables (17.4%) in its gross domestic energy consumption.
Our CEO underscored the fact that economic activity linked to energy generation from renewables has grown exponentially over the last six years and that companies in the sector are delivering superior success and performance levels. “A sign of huge strength because they actually managed to grow during the worst period the world economy – and thus Italy – has experienced.”
The snapshot revealed by the GreenItaly Report reflects that very trend: in the last five years, over 345,000 industrial companies (almost a quarter of the entire non-agricultural business sector) chose to invest in green products or technologies (or intend to do so by the end of 2018) in order to reduce their environmental impact, save energy and contain CO2 emissions. These businesses are also displaying a level of dynamism on foreign markets that is superior to the rest of Italy’s production sector, with higher revenues and sharper increases in employment. In 2017, there were almost three million green jobs, the equivalent of 13% of the national total. These businesses are more innovative too with 79% specifically targeting digital technologies and Industry 4.0.
According to the Report, green investments are a choice that will not merely help sustain the recovery but may also leverage competitiveness in Italy’s business landscape, a context in which quality and beauty, social cohesion and connections to the local area are factors that can help boost companies’ revenues. This development model can also act as an extra weapon in combating climate change in line with the findings of the recent report produced by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change).
As our CEO pointed out, the GreenItaly Report data indicates that “we shouldn’t think that Italy is either particularly behind or ahead of the game: for once, it has the opportunity to whole-heartedly embrace this huge opportunity for progress and make it count.” In this context, Enel has embraced the principles of the green and circular economies, by working on three main links in the energy value chain: production, through the commitment to replacing fossil fuel energy generation with renewables by 2050; distribution, through the digitalisation of medium and low-voltage networks which is vital to managing the increase in energy production from renewables; and the creation of innovative services focused on energy efficiency and electrification of consumption, starting with the development of electric mobility and extending to solutions that will make public lighting in Italy’s municipalities more efficient and supporting industries that want to optimise their energy use.
Francesco Starace then reminded his audience that alongside the abovementioned activities is the Futur-e circular economy project, which is mapping out a repurposing pathway for 23 decommissioned thermoelectric power stations that will turn them into development opportunities. A strategic and business decision that has earned us a reputation as one of the leading companies in the eyes of all believers in the green economy.