Enel and Symbola Foundation present “100 Italian Circular Economy Stories”: the supply chains, technologies and champions of the made in Italy circular economy

Published on Thursday, 15 March 2018

  • Among the large European countries, Italy has the largest share of raw material recovery in the production system with 18.5%

 

Rome, March 14th, 2018 - Environmental challenges outline new opportunities that, thanks to our productive traditions, can be at hand for Italy: the circular economy is one of the most promising. From the scrap of Brescia to the rags of Prato to the waste paper of Lucca, Italy, poor in resources, has always practised efficient, intelligent and innovative forms for use of materials that are today part of the circular economy. Thanks to these virtuous traditions and our national ability to turn a limitation into an opportunity, we are among the most advanced countries in the green economy and in the circular economy. A development model that is no longer linear, where the waste of one company becomes the raw material of another and which is now widespread in all the productive sectors. To give a voice to this cutting-edge, sustainable and competitive Italy, the '100 Italian Circular Economy Stories' study was promoted by Enel and the Symbola Foundation and presented today in Rome by Enel CEO and General Manager, Francesco Starace, and Symbola Chairman, Ermete Realacci.

For our country, the greater efficiency that characterises the stories surveyed translates into lower production costs, less dependence on resources from abroad, greater competitiveness and innovation, which also interweaves with the technologies of the 4.0 industry. The companies, research centres and non-profit organisations that make up this facet of Italy allows us to reconstruct a profile of Made in Italy, made of beauty and quality but also of innovation and sustainability, as well as more aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This kind of Italy has the merit of having made the country a European leader by following the path of the circular economy and sometime anticipating rules that are moving more slowly than society and the economy. Among the large European countries, as certified by Eurostat, we have the largest share of circular material (second-hand raw material) used by the production system: almost a fifth of the total (18.5%), well ahead of Germany (10.7%), which is the only country stronger than us in manufacturing.

The circular economy can create new business models that integrate innovation and sustainability as a strategic choice for competitiveness,” states Enel CEO and General Manager, Francesco Starace. “The report presented today shows that among the 100 excellences of the Circular economy in Italy there are not only large companies, but also small and medium enterprises, institutions, associations and cooperatives that have had the ability to anticipate the times and adopt virtuous industrial practices and processes, underlining the competitiveness of the Italian system in the international sphere and contributing to the fight against climate change.”

“The one hundred excellences of this report describe a country that, despite many problems and delays, has advanced experiences pertaining to crucial issues such as environmental sustainability, management of resource scarcity and the fight against climate change,” states the Chairman of the Symbola Foundation, Ermete Realacci. “The recovery of materials saves us primary energy for over 17 million tonnes of oil equivalent per year and emissions for about 60 million tonnes of CO2, helping to make our economy more efficient and competitive. These hundred stories tell us about a country that promotes itself and innovates without losing its soul; they tell us about a model of economy and society that are more sustainable, competitive and equitable, which could represent the Italian answer to the burning questions that the present and the future pose to the planet.”

According to Eurostat, Italy, with 256.3 tonnes per million euro produced, is the most efficient among the large European countries in the consumption of materials after Great Britain (which uses 223.4 tons of materials per million euro, but has an economy more connected to finance). Italy has improved its performance compared to 2008 by halving its consumption of materials and posting a much stronger performance than Germany, which today uses 423.6 tonnes of materials per million euro.

We are second for industrial recycling with 48.5 million tons of non-hazardous waste sent to be recycled (after Germany with 59.2 million tonnes but before France, 29.9 tonnes, United Kingdom, 29.9 tonnes and Spain, 27 tonnes). This recovery of materials saves primary energy for more than 17 million tonnes of oil equivalent per year, and emissions for around 60 million tonnes of CO2 (elaboration of the Italian research institute Ambiente Italia).

The crucial theme of planning to extend the life of products, for reuse and recycling, not only offers efficiencies and synergies between supply chains, but also new opportunities for development and employment, encouraging creativity, product and process innovation, as well as favouring the new skills that universities are promoting. The circular economy renews and enriches our vocation for design and offers new life to the green economy and to made in Italy.