The following trends drive our choices and actions in the 2021-2030 Business Plan, according to the two pillars of Circular Economy and Energy Transition.
a. Under current conditions, the Earth takes about one year and eight months to regenerate the resources that we consume in a year. At this rate, there will not be enough supply of metals, like copper, and minerals to meet the increase in global demand for industrial items and consumer goods that contain these materials. Companies must save and recover these resources efficiently and sustainably in order to reduce the environmental impact, to close the circle and to remain competitive over the long term.
b. According to the United Nations’ World Water Development Report (2020), the world could be facing a global water shortage of 40% by 2030 due to the insufficient water infrastructures deriving from an urbanization which is greater than the investments in infrastructures and from variations in rainfall levels as a result of climate change. There is a need for substantial investment to develop new water infrastructures, to take action on network leakages and to promote a reduction in wastage.
Today, more than half of the world population lives in urban areas and the proportion will continue to increase. The growth of cities entails the need to create new sustainable infrastructures for transport, telecommunications, water, energy and the environment; it also involves the application of digital logic aimed at making these cities smart.
As the world population grows, so does the stress on the planet’s limited natural resources. The enormous challenge in the management of these resources is not driven only by the demographic growth itself but also by how and where this growth is taking place.
The great availability of data and the advent of social media are becoming major drivers in the building of demand for products with a low social and environmental impact, speeding up transition towards a circular economy model. Consumers who are aware can be committed to using and disposing of products in sustainable ways and to playing a more effective role in the system of reverse logistics. Ideally, the consumers of today can become the suppliers of tomorrow in the circular system. This trend offers an opportunity to businesses to create new shared value and to increase quality standards all along the product value chain.
An economic model based on the sharing of goods and resources in which the ease and speed of access, combined with the actual experience, have more value for the consumer than the property itself. Those companies that best integrate this green economy business model will have the opportunities to optimize the management of procurement, eliminate wastage from the system and create new corporate value.
The 2011-2020 period was the hottest decade ever recorded, with an average global temperature 1.1°C higher than pre-industrial levels in 2019. An increase of 2°C compared to the temperature of the pre-industrial era is associated with serious, potentially catastrophic consequences for the natural environment and for human health and well-being. For this reason, the international community has acknowledged the need to keep warming well below 2°C and to continue its efforts to limit it to 1.5°C. In this context, it is necessary for industry to continue and accelerate the process of energy transition and decarbonization in order to limit the impact on the climate and on the environments in which we live. Businesses must take action to reduce their carbon footprint of direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions by investing, for example, to increase the penetration of renewable energy sources and to promote sustainable mobility.
The growing penetration of RES will lead not only to a reduction in CO2 emissions but also to greater volatility in energy production, especially in adverse climatic conditions. For this reason, it will be necessary to increase the flexibility of energy systems so as to ensure the continuity of services. This will be possible thanks to the use of solutions, like hydrogen fuel cells, which are undergoing rapid development.
Digitalization and technological innovation applied to industry will have a significant impact, enabling new business models that will leverage big data, analytics and artificial intelligence.