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Italy4Innovation: Sustainable Transformation of Business



Italy4Innovation: Sustainable Transformation of Business

The 21st Italy4Innovation event was held on 29 June, on the theme of sustainability. It was organised in collaboration with University College London's School of Management.

The event looked at the decarbonisation of the economic system from the point of view of businesses, which are increasingly compelled to revise their operations, business strategies and production models on the basis of new sustainability standards. Those that fail to do so risk not only losing competitiveness but also violating obligations regarding environmental transparency that are being introduced into national, regional, European and international laws.

The event offered testimonials from a number of major Italian businesses and brands in the fields of services, textiles, energy and investment. These brands are standard-bearers for adaptation to new business methods and confrontation of sustainability challenges, not only for the sake of survival but also as a sign of success.

Sustainability - including reduction of emissions, the new environmental, social and governance (ESG) parameters, and the growing obligations regarding compliance and transparency - is still undervalued and for many companies it is seen purely as a cost. However, it can also be transformed into an opportunity, provided the urgency is understood and companies have the perspicacity and courage to implement transformation early on.

The panelists included representatives of ENEL, Tecno and Yamamay, each of whom put forward a proposal (see the programme here). They highlighted that sustainable business should not be used as merely a communication or marketing tool - a practice known as "greenwashing", which can even be counterproductive. Instead, it should be integrated organically into all the company's processes and decisions, from strategy to execution. In this way, it becomes part of the company culture and ultimately achieves better results.

The event also demonstrated the excellent progress of Italy's economic and entrepreneurial fabric in this transformation process. The process is particularly challenging for SMEs and micro-businesses, which are often held back by lack of resources or lower capacity for strategic projection. But despite these difficulties, our SMEs show extraordinary capacity for adaptation, as can be seen from Italy's achievements in the circular economy and the efficient use of resources, energy and raw materials.