Circular Economy, the enterprise manifesto
Initially, attention was focused primarily on the environment. Then it became a business opportunity. Today, the Circular Economy seems to have made another huge leap forward in terms of quality, with the awareness that there’s no going back. A competitive factor that we can no longer do without.
This certainty has produced the “Alliance for the Circular Economy” manifesto, signed on the 29 of November at the Confindustria headquarters by Enel and Intesa Sanpaolo, organisers of the event, along with some of the major Italian companies operating on the market who have already made a commitment in this sense: Novamont, Costa Crociere, Gruppo Salvatore Ferragamo, Bulgari, Fater and Eataly.
The Manifesto asks for the “acceleration of the transition towards a circular model”, which has become “essential to increase the competitiveness of the Italian industrial sector and strengthen its position in the international context”.
“The circular economy, enabled by technological innovation, is a strategic driver capable of favouring the affirmation of new, more efficient and sustainable business models, as well as overcoming the traditional distinction between the phases and roles typical of the linear economy: a process that involves numerous players transversally along the whole value chain”
– Patrizia Grieco, chairman of Enel
“Italy is a manufacturing country which had created the Circular Economy long before it went by this name, but now an industrial approach is necessary” said Andrea Bianchi, Head of Industrial Policies at Confindustria, opening the convention during which the Manifesto was signed. To accelerate things, the companies requested a simple and stable legislative arrangement, support for research and innovation, more efficient chain for the recovery of materials. It is believed that Italy, a country poor in raw materials but with a longstanding tradition for creativity and design, has the capacities to develop “circular” business models to fully enhance commodities Made in Italy and the role of the country’s many SMEs.
“The circular model represents a positive break, capable of creating new value and growth” declared Mauro Micillo, Head of Corporate & Investment Banking at Intesa Sanpaolo.
The Italian and European strategies
The Enterprise Manifesto comes shortly after the approval of the national strategic placement document of the Ministries of the Environment and Economic Development. “Everything has changed over the past five years: today’s environment is no longer seen as a restriction but as a competitive tool”. This is the opinion of the Minister of the Environment Gian Luca Galletti, while the Cabinet Leader, Raffaele Tiscar, spoke of a veritable “change in paradigm”, because – thanks to eco-design operations – the life of our products is growing longer and we are switching to consumer models based on the use of products, not ownership. “However, we have to avoid importing other models. The multinationals are moving in the Circular Economy on the strength of their global presence: the winning card of the Italian manufacturing system, is the chain of small enterprises, and we have to protect it”.
Europe is moving too. According to European parliamentary member Simona Bonafè, EU speaker on the new legislative package for the Circular Economy, the current development model is setting the pace, and the pressure on raw materials risks becoming unsustainable in the long term. “Today, the Circular Economy is no longer an opportunity, it’s the only possibility we have. We have to stake our claim before the rest of the world, and we need standards to prevent the creation of competitive distortions, in the definition of waste for instance”.
Also according to our Group’s chairman, Patrizia Grieco, the circular approach has become a necessity to avoid placing the planet at risk from the growing population and lack of resources. A big group like Enel has to drive the Italian chain, with actions like the introducing of performance indicators on the Circular Economy in the supplier chain. “Big companies can play a fundamental role, favouring the circular transition of their production chains, increasing the competitivity of the Italian system also in the international context” explained Grieco, indicating investments in renewable energies as tangible examples of Circular Economy.
Other cases were discussed during the convention. Like fabrics created by Orange Fiber, by recycling orange skins, turned into a collection by Ferragamo, the recovery of plastic from the Mediterranean by LVMH-Bulgari Italia, 100% recycled nappies made by Fater, the eco-sustainable architecture of the Freyrie studio, the first Italian community for swapping clothes, created by Armadio Verde, and Marangoni’s remanufacturing of tyres.
Creativity, innovation, sustainability. Made in Italy seems to be synonymous with Circular Economy.