Italians and sustainability, a combination that is becoming more and more concrete

A research conducted by Google on the Italian market shows that sustainability is a driver capable of influencing purchasing choices

Italians are increasingly attentive to their purchases and to the production policies of the brands they rely on. For example, 72% of consumers say brands should put more effort into sustainable packaging (Photo: iStock)
Italians are increasingly attentive to their purchases and to the production policies of the brands they rely on. For example, 72% of consumers say brands should put more effort into sustainable packaging (Photo: iStock)

La climate crisis it is no longer something far from us. We experience it every day: from drought to torrential rains, from heat waves to melting glaciers, the planet seems to cry out all its pain, inviting us to change the course of events. A loud and clear cry for help which, today, also becomes one call to action: awareness is now widespread that it is necessary to implement concrete strategies to stem the crisis. And the awareness finally becomes programmatic for the single individual, also in Italy: the sustainability it is a theme that interested more and more even in our country, and the latest Google surveys  on the subject is proof of this.

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Switzerland also attaches importance to issuing Green Borders in favor of sustainability
Switzerland also attaches importance to issuing Green Borders in favor of sustainability

Italians and environmental sustainability

The Mountain View giant, carbon neutral since 2007, has thoroughly analyzed the issue through a survey which affected the Italian segment of its users: well, the attention towards the green world and ecology in general was clear and obvious. Italian citizens are interested in the climate issue, and the latter is able to influence purchasing decisions who, today, are becoming more aware. It's not enough to give yourself a brushstroke of green: the contemporary consumer is skeptical and accustomed to the widespread practices of greenwashing which, unfortunately, many companies continue to use as an (ineffective) marketing strategy. Better analyzing the results of this consumer survey will help us understand how the sustainability, as well as being necessary to protect the planet, has now also become one considerable leverage for profit growth of companies in every sector and type.

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Valter Fraccaro, President of SAIHub, acronym of Siena Artificial Intelligence Hub, is often the host of public events on planetary sustainability
Valter Fraccaro, President of SAIHub, acronym of Siena Artificial Intelligence Hub, is often the host of public events on planetary sustainability

Sustainability changes its paradigm

La sustainability it's a assets that today a company can no longer give up, both in terms of protecting the planet and in terms of revenue. The searches carried out by users on Google themselves tell us that something has changed: the interest in sustainability is not only informative, but also programmatic and concrete, especially compared to a few years ago. Italians today are no longer simply looking for "pollution" or "climate crisis", but also for terms such as "planting trees" or "sustainable fashion". In short, the change of mentality is clear: the approach to climate change becomes active even at the level of single individual which, being more aware of its impact, becomes also more careful in purchasing goods and services.

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Claudia Persico, CEO of the Persico Group, was the overall winner of the 14th "GammaDonna Award" in Italy (Photo: Alessandro Rocca)
Claudia Persico, CEO of the Persico Group, was the overall winner of the 14th "GammaDonna Award" in Italy
(Photo: Alessandro Rocca)

Ecological commitment rewards companies

In short, the choice to be sustainable is rewarded from every point of view. In the field of Corporate Social Responsibility is definitely Patagonia to be the forerunner of an unconventional change. Its founder, Yvon Chouinard, has in fact sold the company to a non-profit which, from now on, will receive all the dividends and then allocate them to works to protect the environment. A certainly unusual choice, which certainly cannot affect all companies on the planet, but it can certainly be one inspiration to learn to be greenerconcretely and programmatically.

The Google survey on the Italian segment, in fact, highlighted how much the sustainability be a decisive factor when it comes to shopping. In fact, according to 31% of those interviewed, sustainability is now much more important than design and style. And the percentage rises by several points when it is the exponents of generation Z who speak. But this is nothing new. We also find the same data inlatest edition of the EY Future Consumer Index: these show that, in the last two years, the priority assigned to environmental protection has risen from 17 to 35%. It echoes him too research by the National Observatory on Sustainable Lifestyles, now in its sixth edition: Italians, with Gen Z as the forerunner, are willing to spend more as long as the products purchased are sustainable and environmentally friendly.

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A slide from the sixth National Observatory on sustainable lifestyles, which shows how consumers are decidedly more aware of the purchases they usually make - Image Lifegate
A slide from the sixth National Observatory on sustainable lifestyles, which shows how consumers are decidedly more aware of the purchases they usually make (Image: Lifegate)

A concrete example of positive impact

And every productive sector can do a lot to create the change that the planet expects. A few examples will help us understand how each sector can innovate and renew itself with a view to sustainability, generating the least possible impact on the environment. Even the roads we travel on every day, for example, have all the potential to become greener. Let's think about Solid Earth, leader in the natural flooring sector. Research on materials and continuous technological innovation has in fact allowed the company to create floors that are draining, resistant and capable of respecting the constraints of hydraulic invariance and landscape protection, with the advantage of using environmentally friendly materials that impact little about it. Today there are more and more municipalities and private contexts that choose Terra Solida products for their roads, paths in nature, parking lots and play areas for children. As already highlighted by the Google survey, sustainability also rewards in terms of company performance.

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The equipped play areas are just an example of the intervention areas of Terra Solida, which works to make the world greener, one road at a time (Photo: Terra Solida)
The equipped play areas are just an example of the intervention areas of Terra Solida, which works to make the world greener, one road at a time (Photo: Terra Solida)

Sustainability and transparent communication

The Italians, however, demand more transparency from companies. The danger of greenwashing is always around the corner and the interviewees declared themselves interested in knowing in depth the sustainability practices of the brands whose products or services they would like to purchase. And transparency, ultimately, also means clarity: as highlighted by the Google survey, almost half of consumers said that poor communication is a primary obstacle to buying products that are said to be sustainable, even before their presumed quality. And what does this mean if not provide concrete and tangible evidence of one's commitment in the world of environmental, social and economic sustainability?

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On the PlasticFinder portal, each element of a plastic material lot will be assigned a certificate to which a QR code will be associated through which, thanks to the Blockchain, it will be possible to access the specific history of the piece quickly and easily

The advantages of the sustainability report

Il sustainability report, especially in Italy, could be a excellent ally to stimulate both sales and preference on the part of consumers towards its products and services: it is, in fact, a tangible document that demonstrates a company's commitment towards issues related to sustainability. In Italy, unfortunately, it is not yet so widespread: according to ConsumerLab, which has always dealt with the consumer sector, only slightly more than 28% of the main Italian companies make use of this precious tool. And the scenario drastically worsens moving on to small and medium enterprises, among which the percentage drops to 1,76%.

In short, the sustainability report is today the more concrete synonym of transparency on its work: in fact, it puts on paper the state of the art of the economic, environmental and social sustainability of the company that drafts it. Not to mention that, in addition to being an excellent way to tell the virtues of one's company, it is an excellent one internal evaluation method: after the analysis, in fact, governance and stakeholders can intervene strategically and operationally on their work, so as to make it more sustainable from the increasingly necessary point of view of corporate social responsibility.

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Corporate sustainability
Corporate sustainability creates profit and can become a vehicle of transparency for companies, especially when it translates into the sustainability report, a tool still unknown to many Italian companies (Photo: Micheile dot com / Unsplash)