Sustainability in Italy: what big retail players are doing.

Italians are virtuous, with a constantly growing attention towards the environment among young people. This is the picture that emerges from the research about Italian Sustainability and emerging lifestyles: 2,500 interviews, a sample of the Italian population aged between 15 and 74 years. Objective: To identify the most common habits among Italians to reduce their environmental impact.

“The majority of Italians, 50.9%, is sensitive to issues related to sustainability, 48.6% said they buy environmentally friendly products. There is a 36.4% claiming to not care and a 12.7% which is almost hostile to the subject”, “explains Monica Fabris, sociologist, currently president of the Episteme institute of research. “Sustainability is primarily a response to unconscious needs: fear, for example. And the international crisis in this sense was crucial because it demonstrated the unsustainability of many behaviors, limited resources and has spread the importance of having more conservative attitudes. “

This explanation of Fabris, that the sensitivity of the Italian added: “We are not the most attentive of Europe, but we have a different kind of sustainability. In the research we have identified four types of “green” attitudes. There are “promoters of a shared involvment” (10.9%) who practice a sort of militant environmentalism, they think that everyone can do something and that sustainability is a value. Then there are the “those who judge” (10.4%), people who feel the need to see polluters and waste producers being legally punished. The vision of “eco-nostalgic” (14.8%) is about a return to the past and considering saving and reducing consumption real goals. Finally, there is “the vanguard of sustainable consumption” (63,9%) who have a key to modern, pragmatic and are willing to pay for more virtuous behaviours” This last category direct their purchases mainly to products of the big market, identified as guarantors of attitudes ecofriendly.

“All the big brands have sustainable programs. The projects are very varied and range from research to packaging more easily disposable and recyclable materials to reduce water consumption, the increasing presence of photovoltaic systems to supplement the energy needs of the factories to the use of new production technologies with low environmental impact ” says Ivo Ferrario, director of communications Centromarca, the association of the most important companies active in Italy brand. “Huge efforts are also undertaken to provide consumers with a better information, and to educate companies’employees thanks to specific activities regarding the environmental and sustainability issues.” In this direction is the Total Quality Day organized by Coca-Cola HBC Italy: each year, employees spend a day and a half attending comprehensive educational programs about safety and environment. “We talk about the correct control of raw materials, top quality production processes, optimization of cargo handling and a more effective waste management,” says Alessandro Magnoni, Communication and External Relations Manager. “About sustainability, last June we put into operation a large cogeneration plant in Nogales (Vr), which has already reduced CO2 emissions by 66% and increased energy efficiency up to 83%. But this is just the beginning, we plan to equip all eight Italian plants with photovoltaic systems, an operation that will avoid the emission of 11,500 tons of CO2. “

Another international brand is following the same path, Heineken, which in 2010 presented a ten-year plan Brewing a better future. “The aim is to reduce CO2 emissions resulting from production processes by 40% and to fall by 25% on water consumption. All by 2020 “explains Alfredo Pratolongo, Communication and Institutional Affairs Manater at Heineken Italy. A strong commitment to social responsibility is also the mission of Procter & Gamble, a leader in consumer products which collects 300 brands: “We have halved the production of waste and CO2 in our plants and use alternative energy generated by wind and photovoltaic systems “says the head of Italy’s sustainability policies, Renato Sciarrillo. He adds: “For those of us who handles many products – we have 140 factories in 80 countries -logistics is crucial: we want to move 30% by rail transport. But that’s not all. “Concentrated” products ensure reductions in packaging up to 45% and the research is aiming at finding new materials to replace plastics. “

About packaging, Nestlé has a dedicated team that study sizes and materials to reduce environmental impact. “In 2010, in Italy we have avoided the use of 147 tons of materials including metal, paper and plastic. Our objective is to optimize weight and volume, to use materials that you can recover properly, to develop materials from renewable sources and to support initiatives to recycle and recover energy from used packaging “explains Manuela Kron, Nestlé Group Italy Corporate Affairs manager. “To do this we have added a cogeneration and regeneration power plant in San Sisto (PG) and Moretta (CN), which allow us to cut the emission of around 13 000 tonnes of CO2 per year.”

Investments in the study of eco packaging and using alternative energy are also key points for L’Oréal. “We have been working on green chemistry for over ten years and thanks to our research we have recently discovered cosmetic effects of natural sugars. This year we launched a major center for predictive evaluation in Gerland (Lyon) where more than 99% of our ingredients are animal-free tested. Our packaging use a high percentage of recyclable material, we only use wood fiber from certified forests. The Garnier brand, for example, in 2012 will cut the weight of packaging by 15%, “says Giorgina Gallo, managing director of L’Oréal Italy. And the future? “The global goal for 2015 is a reduction of 50% in CO2 emissions, 50% of water consumption and waste generated per unit of finished product. In particular, our factory in Settimo Torinese, in the forefront on sustainability issues, is finalizing two projects that use alternative energy to become, by the end of 2012, a zero emissions plant. “

Always in Italy, another brand which is very attentive to sustainability is Barilla. “Over 92% of our packaging is recyclable and now we want to exceed 95% in advance to target set for 2014. In recent years we have supplied cogeneration pasta plants, developed energy saving projects and replaced the electricity used in the production of Mulino Bianco products by Renewable Energy Certificate System certificates. This has reduced by about 10% the CO2 emissions for each unit of finished product, “explains Barilla’s Head of Communications and Media, Giuseppe Cocconi. This anticipates the future: “We want to reduce the impact of our products in a timely manner ensuring production processes throughout the supply chain.”

And as we have already informed you about, another worlwide known Italian company, Illy, have been awarded for its sustainable approach during the production processes, receiving the DNV Green Coffee Responsible Supply Chain Process certification. A certificate that emphasizes respect for the ecosystem through the use of recycled packaging and non-polluting practices.
In Danone are applying a very tight control system too. “In 2011 we will reach the goal of being the only company in this market segment to use thermoformed plastic, a new generation made much lighter and with less plastic, for the entire range of products ” explains Gianluca Mormino, director of Danone factory in Casale Cremasco . “This system also allows you to sell the pots which are welded together, avoiding the secondary packaging. And we are studying biodegradable packaging. “

There is another sector which is very eco-friendly, and Philips is one of the brands involved. “We have to meet annual targets tied to packaging, water and energy savings,” explains Sergio Tonfi head of communications. “In 2010, the” green “products accounted for 38% of our total revenues, in 2007 were 20%: this is the result of three years long investment in innovation worth about 1 billion euros” (Source: Manuela Croci -Corriere.it)

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About Norman Cescut

“I am the owner & CEO at DESITA, the founder of ECOFFEE, a professional member and deputy of FCSI Italia and the Vice President and National Coordinator of IREF Italia. I am also proud to be the official representative for the sustainable business of HH Abdul Aziz bin Ali Al Nuaimi, aka “Green Sheikh”, member of the Ruling Family of the Emirate of Ajman in the United Arab Emirates”. I love my job because I simply believe in what I do and I love to do it. I love traveling, both for business and pleasure. Meeting different people and cultures has always fascinated me, it enriches me. I love laughing, enjoying good food, my BBQ is highly appreciated by all of them. I love dancing and I love taking portraits. I’m in love with life.
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