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GreenItaly 2019 report launched

original Priscilla Santos,2019-11-06





The 10th report of the Symbola Foundation and UnionCamere on the green economy in Italy — GreenItaly 2019 — was presented on October 28 to a large audience including the media, researchers, civil society organisations and representatives of the Italian government and the international community. In summary, the report presents a strong evidence-based message: businesses that have invested in sustainability have grown more and the number of green jobs has constantly increased in Italy. The numbers demonstrate that this is not exactly a new trend, but a promising and well-established phenomenon in the country. According to the report, 432 thousand Italian companies in the last five years have invested in the green economy to overcome the crisis and face the future. There are currently 3.1 million green jobs in Italy, equivalent to 13.4% of all employed in the country. In 2019 Eco-investments have reached a record increase of 21.5%, the highest figure for the last ten years corresponding to an absolute value of almost 300 thousand companies and 7.2 points higher than that recorded in 2011. The green employment in 2018 has grown compared to 2017 by over 100 thousand posts, with an increase of 3.4% compared to the 0.5% observed in other professional figures. This is a particularly important asset to be valued for the fight against the climate crisis, which is a challenge for the economy, but also an opportunity for innovation and for the Made in Italy brand. The new geography of Made in Italy certified products is predominantly green and there is a growing international demand in big markets, particularly considering the recent developments between Italy and China. Worldwide, moving towards a green economy is expected to improve the living conditions of the poor in the long run. By securing livelihoods and promoting sustainable jobs, the green economy can eradicate poverty and reduce vulnerability across a range of sectors. According to Symbola Foundation´s president Ermete Reallaci, the green economy in Italy combines innovation, quality and beauty and brings new competitiveness to businesses and the country. Italy is the number one country in Europe in recycling (79% of the total waste) and has been taking important steps towards a sustainable economy. Initiatives such as the recent approved eco-tax on polluting cars and the bill to cut prices for food sold without packaging, with incentives for reducing plastic and the use of cars and scooters are just some emblematic examples. In fact, environmental issues played a major role in the electoral campaigns throughout Europe with more green politicians elected to push for more climate action. Giuseppe Tripoli, General Secretary of UnionCamere, emphasised that more and more businesses have adhered to sustainable practices and see climate change also as a business opportunity. This is part of a generational debate and young Italians are in the forefront of advocacy for climate action. Roberto Morassut, Undersecretary of the Ministry of the Environment and Protection of the Territory and the Sea, mentioned three fundamental aspects that need to be prioritised: 1) normative and legislative frameworks — the law must respond to this generational and productive change, particularly sector-specific legislation; 2) the use of fiscal means — taxation on plastic is one example — although he recognises this is a complicated matter for companies; 3) public and private investments to scale up and drive innovation. As the conversion of the economy and a Green New Deal for Italy seem to be popular themes discussed in Parliament, monitoring systems, infrastructure and mobility and the basis for a 4.0 economy need to be strengthened. There are direct links between the themes discussed and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As established by SDG 11, building sustainable cities and business opportunities and fostering resilient societies and economies involves investment in public transport and improving urban planning and management in participatory and inclusive ways. The establishment of mechanisms and forums to continuously report on the implementation of SDGs such as the GreenItaly annual reports are important for promoting knowledge-sharing, experience and information as well as strategic partnerships for innovation and sustainable development. About the author: Priscilla Santos is a Special Advisor on Innovation and Sustainable Development at GHMG STRATEGIES SRL.

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