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Energy & cleantech

Sustainability: still much to do for listed companies

Over 40% of companies listed on the STAR segment of the Italian stock exchange disclose information on their sustainability initiatives. But there is still a long way to go.

According to an analysis carried out by Bernoni Grant Thornton on a sample of sustainability reports submitted by companies listed on the STAR segment of the Italian stock exchange, only few companies provide detailed data on the impact of their actions in terms of reduced emissions and/or reduced resource consumption.

“Our analysis shows that only 20% of companies listed on the STAR segment of the Italian stock exchange provide specific data (in terms of lower emissions/reduced resource consumption) on the result of their sustainability actions; an additional 20% report having increased the use of energy from renewable sources through own plants or by purchasing energy “certified” as renewable.

Nonetheless, this is a positive trend, as all of the 70 companies in the segment face energy efficiency and environmental sustainability issues, though only in a superficial way in some cases. The reported initiatives vary from one company to another: from simple emission monitoring policies of manufacturing cycles and investments to reduce consumptions, to the use of renewable energy sources and raw materials selection” declared Stefano Salvadeo, Co-Managing Partner and Head of Advisory Services at Bernoni Grant Thornton.

According to the latest data available (Energy Efficiency report 2018 by Politecnico di Milano), the total corporate investment in energy efficiency in 2017 amounted to 6.7 million Euro and the outlook for the period up to 2021 is an optimistic one. Major increases in investment are expected, exceeding 10 billion Euro.

Conscious of the importance of these issues, Bernoni Grant Thornton has promoted, for the ninth consecutive year, the Good Energy Award (GEA), an initiative aimed at raising awareness among the business and entrepreneurial community on responsible energy consumptions and sustainable development. Companies can submit their application (free of charge) up to July 20. This year’s categories are: Manufacturing & Technology, Travel & Leisure, Agrifood and, for the first time, Real Estate.

The main concern emerging from the analysis is the lack of a shared approach to objectives and results. When considering corporate reports in terms of initiatives to raise awareness among employees, the scenario is even worse: only 10% of companies report organising training programmes to promote energy saving behaviours. Considering that employees spend many hours in the workplace, this is actually an important aspect on which companies can contribute in terms of education to a responsible consumption.

“This should be food for thought for entrepreneurs: only a constant improvement, involving all personnel, can lead to lasting and significant results” declared Stefano Salvadeo.

A focus on the environment and on sustainable development, besides being ethically correct, is also a major economic and financial factor for companies. “These aspects increasingly play a central role, since on the one hand they improve the profit & loss account of businesses as they directly and significantly impact profitability, while on the other hand they can attract investors such as ethical funds, which are constantly looking for companies in which environmental sustainability plays a primary role in all aspects of the business.

Next September the jury panel of the Good Energy Award will award those companies that more than others will have demonstrated their commitment in investing in sustainability and thus forward-thinking entrepreneurs who have understood that an increased focus on the environment can turn into an economic return for the company, its employees and the wider community” declared Stefano Salvadeo.

GEA 2018
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