Nowadays, doing business and running a company can no longer ignore the attention paid to environmental issues. It has now become clear that the ecological transition is a top priority for implementing sustainable growth in a global and interconnected world. This awareness gradually translates into strategic plans and concrete actions, starting with the European Green Deal, aiming to transform the European Union into the first climate-neutral continent by 2050.
The first step for achieving this aim is to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. Accordingly, the European Commission has adopted several proposals to transform EU climate, energy, transport, and taxation policies and thus change the continent's development model sustainably while opening up new growth prospects at the same time.
The NextGeneration EU plan reiterates this need to set an alternative development strategy into motion. Indeed, it is closely linked to the European Green Deal's objectives and establishes stringent constraints: at least 37% of the sums allocated to each European country's National Recovery and Resilience Plans have to be spent on the fight against climate change. In addition, all investments and reforms under these plans must respect the principle "Do no significant harm" to the environment.
Hence, the path is now marked: investments, incentives, and reforms must make sustainable growth feasible and concrete. Institutions, businesses, and citizens are required to make a joint effort to transform their habits, strategic choices, and development models from a green perspective. This is a real revolution, and the Group's companies are responding proactively with dedicated solutions and a long-term vision, developing sustainable approaches and models in three significant areas of transformation: Public Services, Fashion, and Banking & Finance.
75% of global greenhouse gas emissions are concentrated in towns and large urban areas: the leading players in the energy transition. Redesigning spaces, transforming buildings with a view of energy-saving, and reorganizing transport is fundamental in the evolution towards greener and more sustainable areas.
In this context, data management is essential because it allows the results obtained from sustainable mobility, pollution prevention, and green transformation projects to be monitored thoroughly to develop measurable green policies that can evolve. This expertise is put into play in national and European initiatives and is fundamental in the utilities field as well.
Data, its aggregation from seemingly unrelated heterogeneous sources, and the capacity to identify internal relationships and links are essential in enabling new business models based on renewable energy and more efficient resource management to implement Italy’s energy transition and build more modern, digital, sustainable, and interconnected infrastructures.
By its intrinsic characteristics, the fashion industry is one of the production sectors with the highest environmental impact. However, public opinion on the subject is changing, and the sector is consequently experiencing a period in which its values are being significantly re-appraised. The intensified interest of consumers in the sustainability theme is driving Fashion brands to increase their focus on the environment and, at the same time, to demonstrate their commitment in this area, making their value chain more traceable and transparent. For this reason, in 2019, over 30 world-leading fashion and textile companies signed the Fashion Pact to achieve several environmental objectives, focusing on three main areas: climate, biodiversity, and oceans. After just one year, the number of Fashion Pact members has doubled, involving about a third of the global fashion industry.
Sustainability is, therefore, a challenge that Fashion companies can no longer hide from. To pursue a greener business model, brands must reconsider the entire product life cycle: from the design and production phases to disposal, reuse, and recycling. Only in this way will it be possible to finally implement a circular strategy, which is the next step towards sustainability. An ambitious goal, taken forward also thanks to the studies carried out by research groups involving various stakeholders in the fashion world, such as the Monitor for Circular Fashion promoted by SDA Bocconi and Enel X.
However, what is evident is that the sustainable future of fashion cannot be achieved without the support of technology and the extraordinary capacity for data management and processing that this enables. Data analysis allows companies to put in place and monitor activities and strategies that create value not only for consumers, partners, and stakeholders but also for the business itself. In the knowledge that social and environmental commitments meet the needs of all.
The issue of sustainability is increasingly pervasive: the banking & finance market is also becoming more aware of environmental issues. Today, focusing only on a given industry's returns and main indicators is no longer enough for investors. ESG (environmental, social, and governance) factors are being considered increasingly, and the demand for green financial products is experiencing robust growth. Therefore, integrating ESG criteria into risk analyses has become a central theme for banks and institutional investors. The tools for companies’ dynamic and prospective analysis are thus evolving, combining a qualitative approach to collecting data on environmental, social, and governance factors with a quantitative model for evaluating companies' ESG performance.
The digital payments game is also one of the catalysts of the concept of sustainable finance. The environmental impact of each cash transaction is 4.6 grams of CO2, compared to the equivalent 3.8 grams of CO2 for a cashless transaction. Therefore, in a context increasingly attentive to environmental issues, the world of payments has also embarked on a one-way path towards a complete dematerialization of payments.