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GreenItaly 2019: Italian companies invest in the green economy


English version by Lara Gastaldi

The GreenItaly Report by Symbola Foundation - Unioncamere has documented a record of eco-investments in Italy in the last 5 years. Almost 300.000 companies are involved, with a growth of 7.2 points.

A record for eco-investments. Despite the tough economic situation, the "GreenItaly 2019 Report" depicts a different and prosperous image of Italy, which is capable of arranging resources for sustainability purposes. The analysis, which is carried out by Symbola Foundation and Unioncamere, is supported by Conai, Ecopneus and Novamont, is in partnership with Si.Camera and Ecocerved and is endorsed by the patronage of the Ministry of the Environment.

According to the report, which was presented in Rome in October 2019, over 432.000 Italian companies have invested in green products and technologies in the last 5 years to reduce the environmental impact, save energy and contain CO2 emissions by the end of 2019. In particular, these are 21.5% of Italian companies; this is 7.2 points higher than the numbers acknowledged in 2011.

This had significant consequences on the labour market. Indeed, the number of green jobs in Italy surpassed 3 million: 3,100,000 units, 13.4% of the total employment. In 2018, green jobs grew over 100.000 units compared to 2017, with an increase of 3.4% compared to the rise of 0.5% for other professions. Personal data, which reveal the virtuosity of youth entrepreneurship, are interesting: indeed, 47% of companies led by under 35 promoted eco-investments. Senior entrepreneurs who wanted to promote sustainable investments consist of only 23% instead.

The 10 editions of GreenItaly demonstrate how the attention to sustainability and environment of Italian economic system has grown year after year," stated Giuseppe Tripoli, Unioncamere Secretary General. “Data are clear. One in three companies has taken the path of sustainability, 90.000 more than last year. This choice means possible greater productivity and competitiveness and more innovation and export activities. A significant contribution has been accomplished by young entrepreneurs under 35 years, who focused their companies’ actions towards green economy”.

The Report shows good news for Italian environmental performance compared to other European countries. In the last 10 years – according to the report – the attention to renewables has increased. The Italian industrial system has been placed as second among the EU's big ones for energy inputs/units of product – with 14.8 tons of oil.
What about the age-old problem of waste recycling? According to the most recent Eurostat data (updated to 2016), Italy is the European country with the highest percentage of recycling for every kind of waste, on 79% of the total recycled. The European average shows much lower results, with only 38%.

According to the survey, the dynamism of Italian companies emerges from the export activities (51% of eco-investors of manufacturing sector reported an increase in exports in 2018, against the smaller 38% of those who did not invest ) and the growth of 22% in green licenses from 2006 to 2015. Italy is also the third country in the world, after China and Japan, for the number of ISO 14001 certifications.

“The Greta generation needs answers rather than cuddles. Everything is changing even though too slowly, " stated Ermete Realacci, president of Symbola Foundation "[...] there is already a more sustainable and human-scale kind of economy which combines innovation and quality with values ​​and social cohesion, research and technology with design and beauty, industry 4.0 and ancient knowledge. This constitutes a social model that lets our country have a relevant international role”.

Tags: Global sight