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CLIMATE ACTION PROGRAMME

3 January 2018

Italy releases public policy declaration on the circular economy

The Italian government has recently published a strategic paper on the promotion of a circular economy in the country, outlining its commitment to the efficient use of resources paired with support for sustainable consumption practices.

The document, entitled “Verso un Modello di Economia Circolare per l’Italia” (Towards a Circular Economy Model in Italy), was created by the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Economic Development and is part of the broader national strategy for sustainable development. 

It proposes a paradigm shift, where steps to improve sustainability can be taken from both the supply and demand side of the economy. New business models need to promote the recovery and recycling of resources and extend the product lifetime by incorporating sustainability into product designs.

The paper stresses the obligation of manufacturers to take responsibility for the full lifecycle of the product, inviting business actors to come together and develop consortia to manage waste.

In addition, environmental communication plans need to raise awareness among consumers to trigger new consumption models, such as repairing instead of replacing, sharing over ownership, and recycling.

Gian Luca Galletti, Minister of the Environment, commented: “Italy wants to overcome the great challenge of the circular economy with Europe, with which the credibility of our international engagements is first measured, starting with Paris Agreement commitment to combat climate change”.

“Our country can count on the strength of Italian companies and their ability to look ahead, that is to say, their ability to understand before others what practices are elements of competitiveness on the market, practices such as regeneration, ecodesign and combating waste”, he added.

The paper was accompanied by a supporting declaration signed by major Italian businesses led by the banking group SanPaolo and the energy company Enel.

The ‘Manifesto for the Circular Economy’ includes major companies of the Made in Italy brands, such as Novamont- a biochemical company, Salvatore Ferragamo Group, and Bulgari.

Patrizia Grieco, President of Enel, said: “The circular economy, enabled by technological innovation, is a strategic driver capable of promoting the establishment of new business models which are more efficient and sustainable, as well as promoting a departure from the traditional division of stages and distinctive roles of the linear economy: a process with a cross-cutting involvement of many players across the entire value chain”.

He added: “In this context, the big businesses can play a fundamental role as a driving force to promote the circular transition of their supply chains, reinforcing the competitiveness of the Italian economic system also in the international context”.

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