As it arises throughout the Report, there are many advanced available solutions to achieve the required higher level of Sustainability. Those solutions are not only real. They are actually ready for being implemented and many of them are proposed or adopted by leading global companies. This means that the business case around Sustainability is not anymore a far vision, but a concrete reality to enable new sources of competitive advantage while protecting the endangered ecosystems and scarce resources, ensuring a resilient and prosper future.
By focusing on Italy, the priority is hinged on quickly and effectively overcoming some limitations that characterize the current scenario, such as the need for clear and stable regulatory frameworks (e.g. for renewable energy sources or the support to implement innovative solutions), or the necessity to address the fragmentation of responsibilities amongst the different governing bodies at various levels. From a wider perspective, it is paramount overcoming certain physical and digital infrastructural limitations, such as the delay in developing broadband connectivity, represented by the low score in the Digital Agenda Scorecard 2014, and some cultural constraints, represented by the ongoing limited consumers’ awareness around the importance of being informed about what they consume. Some of those constraints have somehow limited the foreign investments and the ability of Italy to be a fully competitive actor in the European and global arena, despite key strengths, like an outstanding ingenuity or the ability to export our greatest productions, especially in the field of advanced technologies or manufacturing.
Thus learning from the past, Italy should engage the Sustainability challenge in the best way, by putting the country (one of the largest and most renowned manufacturing economies in the world) at the forefront of innovation, not only in terms of production, but also in terms of adoption. Italy Incrementally changing our culture and instilling the value of Sustainable Development to clearly demonstrate how a shift towards the low-carbon economy is the key strategic pillar to compete and generate competitive advantage in our complex, challenging, global economy. This increasingly global dimension requires new, solid and viable paths to re-generate itself, to create space for a future of new abundance, where growth is decoupled from Resources’ and Ecosystems’ depletion.
Year 2015 with the Paris’ COP21 in December and the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals in September can mark an unprecedented step change in the field of Sustainability. The AmCham Sustainability Committee, as well as the American Chamber of Commerce in Italy, firmly believes that sustainability can provide an important contribution not only to put our country back on the path to growth but also to develop long-term, sustainable and robust competitive advantage for the future as well as to cope with two of the most extraordinary challenges of the 21st century, Climate Change and Resources’ Scarcity.
However, in order to achieve this result, companies and policy-makers should get together to create the right conditions for this potential to turn it into a concrete reality. In the light of the above, we think the following priorities will be crucial for the success of this endeavor:
- Defining a structured framework and a sector based roadmap for the transition toward a clean and low carbon economy
- Ensuring, through a dedicated body, the coordination of innovation and environmental policies and regulations to spark and sustain a virtuous circle of investments
- Optimizing the allocation of public R&D spending and incentives and prioritizing the emerging technologies, which provide the greatest boost in achieving a clean and low carbon economy
- Educating and training students and professionals in the field of innovation management to ensure the necessary skills are in place for a smooth and consistent transformation
- Encouraging the development of Public-Private funded projects – leveraging on European Commission President Juncker’s Investments Plan – aimed at boosting growth and employment through the adoption of Sustainable Technologies.