Earth Day

Sustainability as a business strategy

Lorenzo Carminati
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On the occasion of the Earth Day, EU institutions have reached an agreement on climate law. The provisional agreement provides for a 55% reduction, at least, of net emissions by 2030 as compared to 1990 and the attainment of the climate neutrality target by 2050. These are of course ambitious targets, but the effects of climate changes are there for all to see and further delays are no longer tolerable.

The EU thus confirms its commitment to the Paris Agreement, which will most probably gather momentum after the global leaders' summit convened by Joe Biden. Needless to say, a marked reversal of Trump’s position is expected from the US.

Global leaders - it is worth reminding that China reached the top spot in electric energy production from renewable sources in 2020 - agree on the need of a widespread adoption of the green economy. As the various initiatives promoted by the Italian Government demonstrate, leaders are ready to make significant investments in order to promote the development and adoption of more sustainable solutions (e.g. 110% bonus for property renovations or incentives for sustainable mobility introduced by the latest Budget Law).

Meanwhile, and despite the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, a strategy aimed at penalising those businesses which fail to adopt this new way of considering resources is also in place (e.g. the upcoming introduction of a plastic tax, planned for next July 1).

What will be the impact of this swift evolution on businesses? Needless to say, the path ahead has been paved (fortunately for us all!) and underestimating its impacts would be hazardous, regardless of the industry.

The only actual approach for companies is to devise a way to turn their businesses into a driver of sustainable development as soon as possible, seizing the opportunities currently available and, more importantly, embracing the key principles of the economic revolution underway. It is quite clear that those who will succeed in seizing the new opportunities will gain a strong position in the changing economic scenario.

As far as resources are concerned, it goes without saying that the cost of transformation is huge and that the wiser old economy players will probably manage to survive and thrive also in the new context (consider for example VW, which through multi-million investments aims at becoming the leader of the electric car industry by 2025); this said, Italian small-medium enterprises - usually smaller and more flexible than foreign competitors - have all it takes to seize the opportunity.