Dear UN Global Compact Participant,
Welcome to the Decade of Action: As we enter into 2020, allow me to share with you some reflections about my fears, hopes and great expectations for an important year — at the threshold of a critically important new decade that UN Secretary-General António Guterres has named the “Decade of Action.
I fear that we are running out of time: At the startline for the Decade of Action, the world is falling badly behind in the race to avert the climate crisis. 2019 was the hottest year on record, concluding the hottest decade on record. And the trend is set to continue. In November 2019, 11,000 climate scientists sounded the alarm, saying the Earth is “clearly and unequivocally” facing a climate emergency and warning that we are running out of time to reverse the trend.
We are all impacted by climate change. Heatwaves, wildfires, storms, droughts, floods and rising sea levels are threatening the livelihoods and safety of billions of people. For some, survival relies on global leadership and action NOW. In May 2019, the UN Secretary-General visited Tuvalu, a country that, together with other island countries in the Pacific Ocean, faces sea-level rise four times greater than the global average. And yet, despite hard scientific data and living proof, we all left disappointed from COP 25 in Madrid and its urgent call to Governments to transition away from dependence on fossil fuels. In fact, rather than falling, CO2 emissions continue to rise.
The new UN Global Compact’s CFO Taskforce gets underway with a two-year programme designed to put corporate finance at the centre of the Sustainable Finance agenda to advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Taskforce was launched, in Milan, with an event hosted by Borsa Italiana last December 17th.
There are four italian companies among the founding members of the Taskforce: Enel, Eni, Pirelli, Terna.
The main challenge for the Network in 2018 was to “transfer” at the local level the “One Global Compact” governance model launched by the United Nations and characterized by two original elements: closer coordination, compared to the past, between the New York Offices and the Local Networks around the world, and the launch of new tools and opportunities for exchange on sustainability issues at the international level (such as, for example, the SDGs Academy or the Action Platforms) in the face of a greater financial commitment in support of the initiative required of the profit organizations involved. In 2019, the new model has been consolidating at the local level, also strengthened by a continuous growth trend of the Italian base of the movement, as well as the progressive increase of "Founder members” to the Italian Network of the Global Compact (GCNI).
During the year that is about to close, the Foundation's statutory bodies were also renewed with the confirmation of the Chairman, of some members of the Board of Directors, and with the entry in the board of new companies with mature sustainability profiles and new propositivities. In September, Daniela Bernacchi – a professional with extensive experience in both multinational and non-profit companies – was appointed Secretary General of the GCNI.
The fourth edition of the Italian Business & SDGs Annual Forum, promoted by Global Compact Network Italy (GCNI), was held on October 14 and 15 in Trieste at the MIB Trieste School of Management. The event was hosted by Hera Group with the support of Assicurazioni Generali, illycaffè, Leonardo and MIB Trieste School of Management and under the auspices of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the Municipality of Trieste and Confindustria Venezia Giulia.
The Forum, which is the annual opportunity for multi-stakeholder discussion on the role of the private sector in achieving the SDGs indicated in 2030 Agenda, was attended by 140 participants, 60 companies, 11 non-profit organizations, 6 representatives of local and national institutions, 11 research institutions and universities.
Innovation for the 2030 Agenda
The fourth edition focused on the combination Innovation-2030 Agenda.
In order to meet the vision of the 2030 Agenda, which aims at achieving sustainable development that leaves no one behind, it is necessary for companies to go far beyond the logic of "business as usual" and to choose a transformative approach - characterized by innovative mindset, dissemination of new business models and testing of disruptive technologies - as well as unconventional partnerships.
All the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) contained in the Agenda are levers for innovation and experimentation of new solutions, with a positive effect in terms of increasing the competitiveness of the private sector.
As underlined by Sergio MERCURI - Minister Plenipotentiary, Coordinator for Sustainability Issues, Directorate General for Globalization and Global Issues, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation - the European Union also identifies innovation as a transversal activator for the transition to sustainability and as an essential prerequisite for an EU economy in line with the SDGs.
The theme of transformation was topical in the exchange between Stefano VENIER, CEO of Hera Group, and Gabriele GALATERI DI GENOLA, President of Assicurazioni Generali - both companies having a strong presence on the territory and consolidated sustainability profiles. They stressed the central role of concrete actions in the process of advancing the 2030 Agenda. Indeed, according to the two leaders, it is not a matter of starting revolutions within companies, but rather of working day after day and continuously towards the process of transformation. To this end, it is essential to think in an integrated way, to look at the entire business model and to pay attention to the impacts of business operations on the territory and on the communities throughout the production chain.
The transformative approach must take into account both the work and the social dimensions of all corporate stakeholders, which are to be protected in a logic of inclusion and involvement. Therefore, it is fundamental to operate towards a "just" transition.
The institutional greetings and speeches of Stefano FANTONI (President of the Trieste International Foundation and Champion ESOF 2020), Maria Cristina PEDICCHIO (President of the National Institute of Experimental Oceanography), and Federico TESTA (President of ENEA) made it clear how important the role of partnerships among companies, research and institutions is for the achievement of sustainable development. In order to obtain concrete, measurable and achievable results, it is necessary to be open to the contamination of ideas and tools. It was underlined how much science should be connected to the problems of our societies in order to support a widespread welfare for everyone. In addition, the link between technological transformation and the needs expressed by the Italian entrepreneurial fabric, characterized above all by small and medium-sized enterprises, must be even more relevant.
Also, these speakers, highlighted how innovation can be "fair" if it produces a positive and widespread socio-economic impact.
The connection Innovation-2030 Agenda was explored more specifically toward the end of the day through four thematic focuses: inclusion, resilience, circular economy and sustainable finance. These themes were addressed thanks to the contribution of Barbara FALCOMER (Director General of Valore D), Andrea MAGGIANI (Director General of Carbonsink), Fabio IRALDO (Professor at the Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna), and Francesco BICCIATO (Secretary General of the Forum for Sustainable Finance). Integrating these models into business is a source of competitiveness for the private sector: when the company is able to enhance diversity and be inclusive - especially in terms of gender - it has better business performances; developing adaptation and mitigation measures to tackle climate change and setting ambitious targets for reducing emissions makes the private sector more resilient and competitive, bringing it closer to the financial sector, which today is fairly green-oriented. The adoption of circular business models implies, on the one hand, making the use of resources more efficient and, on the other, redesigning the entire production process, increasing business opportunities at every stage of the product life cycle; finance oriented towards sustainability projects is an innovative investment tool and an ally for companies to implement concrete actions with impacts on the territory.
Tavoli di lavoro
Participants in the Forum discussed inclusion, resilience, circular economy and sustainable finance in Working groups in the morning of 15 October with the aim of developing proposals for action to be implemented in 2020 within the operational framework of Global Compact Network Italy.
The following issues were outlined as priority and transversal needs for companies: finding the right ways to involve the entire value chain, not only suppliers and sub-suppliers, but also citizens and customers, and creating awareness within but also outside the business context.
Seven proposals presented in plenary and voted by all the participants of the Forum emerged from the Working Tables. The side picture shows all the proposals and the voting outcomes. In particular, the first three proposals refer to: the organization of a workshop on Sustainable Finance; the creation of guidelines on circularity for the companies’ purchasing offices; the promotion of a CEO roundtable on inclusion and management of diversity within companies.
Regarding all these actions, GCNI was indicated as an ideal partner to support companies - in terms of training, insights and sharing of experiences - in their path towards sustainability.
"In the eleven years between now and 2030, we must move in a collective spirit. Companies must engage not only their production chains, but also citizens and consumers: in line with the global nature of the 2030 Agenda, everyone is expected are expected to contribute to the development of a more equal and inclusive society. We should not forget that, in the vision of the UN's Global Compact, there can be no sustainability without inclusion".
Marco FREY – President, Global Compact Network Italy
"The commitment of companies is one of the essential factors for the success of the transition indicated by the United Nations; the territory of Trieste, in this sense, clearly shows what a correctly oriented company can do (for instance, think about the new purifier that “speaks with the sea" in Servola, an important example of smart and innovative technology at the service of the environment and the community). The private sector as a whole, in order to make a real difference, must place sustainability at the very heart of its raison d'être, giving itself a long-term vision that is supported not only internally by adequate planning and economic resources, but also externally by coherent legislative frameworks, which direct the wide-ranging investments and re-industrialization processes that will be required in the coming years.
Stefano VENIER – CEO, Hera Group
"In the insurance business of Generali, environmental, social and governance responsibility is integrated with its objectives. Generali embraces the most advanced international principles for sustainability and particularly promotes the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This is demonstrated by initiatives such as, for example, investments for € 1 billion by 2021 in digital innovation and transformation, or the climate change strategy, approved in 2018, which provides for specific actions on investment and underwriting and identifies discussion and stakeholder involvement as a tool to facilitate the transition to a low-environmental-impact society".
Gabriele GALATERI DI GENOLA – President, Assicurazioni Generali
Daniela Bernacchi is the new Secretary-General of Global Compact Network Italy. Consequently, she will be the person guiding - together with Professor Marco Frey (President) and in synergy with the Network’s Board of Directors - the Foundation for the next three years. The Foundation was appointed by the United Nations to coordinate and promote the “Global Compact” - the UN project aimed at promoting global sustainable development - at the national level.
After a twenty-year career in the marketing of large and distinguished multinationals operating in the publishing (Gruner und Jahr-Mondadori), entertainment (The Walt Disney Company) and energy (Liquigas-SHV) sectors - reaching the position of Marketing Director - Bernacchi continued her professional experience in the non-profit sector. In the last 12 years, she has been Director General of two leading Italian non-governmental organizations, namely WeWorld and Cesvi Foundation, both engaged in Africa, Asia and South America with humanitarian and development programs, and focusing particularly on human rights and inclusive and sustainable growth. Until February 2019, she was also part of the Board of «Alliance2015», a network which brings together 8 important European ONGs committed to the promotion of the SDGs – the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations in 89 countries worldwide.
Francesca Martucci, born in 1988, Sustainability Specialist at Pirelli & C., is the first Italian Pioneer for the SDGs.
Global Compact Network Italy has identified in the Young Business Leader - active in the Auto & Parts sector - the national winner of the SDGs Pioneer Italy 2019 award. The award aims to promote those young business professionals who have distinguished themselves by an extraordinary commitment to the advancement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Feralpi Group, European leader in the production of steels for the construction industry, has joined the Ten-P - Sustainable Supply Chain Self-Assessment Platform active since 2016 and managed by Global Compact Network Italy.
The Ten-P Platform works as a monitoring and evaluation tool to support companies’ commitment to ethical and sustainable management of their own supply chains.
Together with the Feralpi Group, the partners of Ten-P are: A2A, Acea, Edison and the Sofidel Group.
The first meeting of the European Peer Learning Group on Corporate Climate Strategies was held on the 4th and 5th of June in Berlin. The meeting was organized by the UN Global Compact Local Networks of Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Switzerland and Denmark. The aim was to promote dialogue among companies from different national contexts and foster sharing corporate experiences on the importance of developing corporate climate strategies – as well as setting ambitious climate targets in line with the Paris Agreement’s objective of limiting global warming to +1.5° C.
4 Italian companies - A2A, Artsana, Ferrovie dello Stato, Snam - already committed to developing a corporate climate strategy attended the meeting. During the event was also explored and discussed the importance for companies of setting Science-Based Targets, aligned with the above-mentioned 1.5 ° C global objective.
The meeting was highly interactive, with sharing of experiences and working groups. All activities started with the identification of the drivers that push each company to develop a climate strategy: top management commitment, brand credibility and company reputation, stakeholders' expectations and transparency, increase of corporate competitiveness and market opportunities.
Interview with Francesca Martucci – Sustainability Specialist at Pirelli & C.
1. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, launched by the United Nations in 2015, is now widely recognized as the main framework and guideline for a transformation of economy and society based on the respect of human and labour rights, of the principles of dignity, equality and non-discrimination, and of the environment. As a Sustainability Specialist and passionate about the issues, can you explain to us what - in your opinion - are the real strengths of this tool for promoting and implementing sustainable development?
2015 marked a moment of great change for the world of sustainability. The experience gained with the Millennium Development Goals has led to the involvement of a greater number of players in the definition of the Global Goals, and this choice has proved to be successful. The consultations led to the definition of 17 clear, shared and measurable objectives: the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The publication of the 169 targets underlying the SDGs allowed a greater understanding, providing the addressees with concrete ideas on how to actively contribute to their achievement. Among these, the private sector has been given a key role alongside the Member States since from the definition of the targets. The increased involvement of companies has led to greater visibility of these issues in public events and debates, as well as on social media. This has allowed to reach a wider audience compared to the past, and many people, even individually, have decided to take action and become promoters of the objectives of sustainable development.
2. This year, the SDGs Pioneers competition - promoted and coordinated globally by the United Nations Global Compact - aimed to recognize and enhance the commitment of Young Business Leaders (under 35) to sustainable development. In your opinion, how can a Young Professional contribute to achieving the sustainability objectives of the company in which he/she is involved?
One of the advantages of being a millennial is certainly growing up in a world that attributes a key role to sustainability. I remember when these issues were first approached on the news, with the launch of the Millennium Development Goals, and - although less than today - sustainability was already part of my life. Five years ago, at the end of my studies, I had the opportunity to continue pursuing my interest in these issues within Pirelli, a company in which sustainability is fully integrated into its business strategy. Thanks to this, I have the opportunity to meet with colleagues from different company functions (purchasing, health and safety, governance, human resources...) on a daily basis, working together to the definition of objectives for the sustainable development of the company and knowing that the activities that are implemented also contribute to the achievement of the United Nations’ sustainable development goals.
3. Looking at your work at Pirelli & C., is there a project or activity - on which you have been/are currently engaged and which you think has a particular value or impact - that you would like to talk about?
A very important project which we have been working on for some years now concerns the sustainability of the natural rubber supply chain. Created with the aim of promoting and developing sustainable and responsible sourcing along the entire value chain, it included the publication of the “Sustainable Natural Rubber Policy” in autumn 2017, as well as the related “Implementation Manual” and a multiannual action plan in 2018. All of this was elaborated through a constant multi-stakeholder dialogue involving international NGOs, our main natural rubber suppliers, traders and farmers, automotive customers, multilateral and international organizations. The issues addressed in these documents include the protection of workers and indigenous people’s rights, the prohibition of deforestation to preserve environmental capital and biodiversity, and the support for responsible and sustainable development of local communities and economies. Responsibly managing these issues and achieving significant and lasting impacts require maintaining a long-term vision and joining forces with key players in the value chain. Among the SDGs impacted by this important project we can, in fact, mention SDG number 8 - decent work and economic growth -, number 15 - life on earth - and number 17 - partnership for the objectives.
In May 2019, activities continued with the creation of the digital platform “Being Fast Takes Time”, dedicated to sharing images, videos and sounds that tell the story of life in the natural rubber plantations of Southeast Asia. It was born to promote the knowledge of a world both precious and fragile that needs responsible and sustainable development.
Among the activities scheduled for 2019 in support of our suppliers is the organization of training sessions dedicated to the implementation of the Policy’s contents along the entire supply chain, up to the plantations.
4. By joining the United Nations Global Compact, a Company pledges not only to respect but also to promote the principles of sustainable development. How did you take part in this effort to raise internal and external awareness of the 10 Principles of the Global Compact and the SDGs?
Part of my work consists in preparing and delivering internal training courses, as well as providing external training on sustainability issues to university students and professionals. On these occasions, I deal with the SDGs, showing the many connections existing with the activities of the company. Among the main messages I share is the importance of the role of partnerships: being sustainable means not only ensuring compliance with the principles of the Global Compact and the SDGs within the company, but also working with partners, peers, customers and civil society to ensure that the same principles are the basis of a shared, solid and lasting development.
This year’s first meeting of the Founding Members of Global Compact Network Italy was held on May 21 at FEEM - Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei, in Milan. More than 30 representatives of member companies and organizations took part in the meeting. One of the objectives of the meeting was to elect the Network’s new Board of Directors and administration as part of the wider renewal of the Statutory Bodies, which takes place every three years.
The new Board of Directors is composed of 11 Members including: - 8 professionals from companies (two of them being SMEs) active in various production sectors; - 3 from the non-profit world. The business/non-business relationship within the new Board of Directors perfectly reflects the composition of the Network at the national level (2/3 companies, 1/3 stakeholder organizations).
The fourth edition of the Italian Business and SDGs Annual Forum promoted by Global Compact Network Italy will be held in Trieste on October 14 and 15. The Forum, that will be hosted by Hera Group with the support of Assicurazioni Generali and illycaffè, and under the patronage of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation (MAECI), of the Municipality of Trieste and of Confindustria Friuli Venezia Giulia, will address mainly Italian companies and organizations participating in the United Nations Global Compact. The 2019 SDGs Forum will discuss innovation in support of sustainability, in the knowledge that the ambitious objectives of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda will not be achieved without a truly new, brave and far-sighted approach by all parties involved.
For the implementation of the SDGs it is necessary: 1. to adopt ways of thinking and acting oriented towards innovation; 2. to build and experiment new business models; 3. to develop/adopt technologies to improve existing processes or, in a more disruptive logic, open new paths and opportunities (e.g.: block-chain, artificial intelligence, big data, 3D printing, unmanned aerial systems, new generation robotics, digital agriculture, genetic editing, augmented reality, microbiotics, autonomous road vehicles, etc.).
On April 30th 2019, the process for collecting applications for the SDG Pioneer Italy 2019 closes. The SDG Pioneer Italy is the local round of the SDG Pioneers campaign promoted by UN Global Compact to recognize the national Pioneer who distinguished himself for his commitment in his daily work in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
The campaign this year and for the first time is targeting at the Young Professionals under the age of 36 working in an Italian company who participate in the UN Global Compact, enhancing their contribution towards sustainability and the promotion and advancement of SDGs in line with the UNGC10 Principles.
From the beginning of May, the Global Compact Network Italy (GCNI) will start the evaluation process of the applications received which will lead to the recognition of the SDG Pioneer Italy. The first phase of the process will be managed by an Evaluation Committee internal to the GCNI which will select the Top 5 applications from all those received from the Italian companies participating in the United Nations Global Compact.
The fourth edition of the Business & SDGs High Level Meeting, promoted by Global Compact Network Italy and organized with the support of Terna, was held on April 4 in Rome.
The meeting was attended by Managing Directors, Presidents and top managers of Italian companies involved in the United Nations Global Compact and daily committed to implementing the 10 UNGC Principles and achieving the SDGs. Among the participants: Aeroporti di Puglia, Assicurazioni Generali, BNP Paribas Cardif, Gruppo Sofidel, Gruppo Unipol, Rina, Viscolube, A2A, Carbonsink, Edison, Eni, Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane, Gruppo Hera, Leonardo, Maire Tecnimont, Pirelli, Saipem.
Supply chains are the most important levers for companies to create positive impacts in the world, with about 80% of global trade passing through them every year.
For this reason, the United Nations Global Compact has set up an International Platform for Action (Action Platform “Decent Work in Global Supply-Chains”) bringing together institutional partners, local UNGC networks (including Global Compact Network Italy) and companies from all over the world with the aim of planning concrete actions and developing tools that have an impact on the welfare of corporate workers along the supply chain. The Action Platform works to:
Global Compact Network Italy (GCNI) has published the 2018 Activities Report addressed to all stakeholders and mainly to: companies and organizations involved in the Italian network of the UN’s Global Compact; all Italian subjects participating in UN’s activities for sustainable development; the New York’s office of the Global Compact.
The document aims to provide an overview of the Global Compact (with a section dedicated to last year's highlights) and to describe GCNI by presenting its governance and people, methods of involvement, participants and partners, as well as the thematic foci for 2018 and the implemented work plan.
The Observatory of Non-Financial Declarations (DNF) and Sustainable Practices was born from the partnership between the Department of Business and Legal Studies of the University of Siena and the CSR Manager Network, the Italian association that brings together over 150 practitioners who are dedicated to Sustainability strategies and projects. The Observatory aims to collect, analyze and disseminate information on the 211 DNFs prepared by leading Italian companies with the ultimate aim of identifying the Best Practices implemented.
Its innovative character is given by the online platform https://www.osservatoriodnf.it accessible to all free of charge: through a continuously updated dashboard it is possible to directly access the database of over 200 DNFs collected and some preliminary analyzes presented in infographic form. Among the topics that can be analyzed are the impacts produced by production cycles on the ecosystem, the relationship with employees, respect for human rights, the principles of gender equality and social diversity, anti-corruption activities and much more.
Speakers in the panel included: Francesco Agnes, Senior Investment Director at Cambridge Associates, Alessia Amighini, Co-Head Asia Centre at ISPI and Eric Voravong, ESG Analyst Asia ex Japan at Comgest.
The seminar analysed the Chinese market based on environmental, social and governance (ESG) sustainability criteria. As the main international indexes usually assess low sustainability performances for Chinese companies, the speakers talked about the necessity to approach the Chinese market taking into account the peculiarities of the cultural, social, political and economic local context, which is so different from the West “way of thinking”.
The United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) has launched the campaign “Global Goals in Action”, which aims to enhance the commitment of its member companies to implementing the Global Goals promoted by the 2030 UN Agenda.
In particular, the campaign is divided into Video-Series focused on the experience of 5 multinational companies – Safaricom, Colgate-Palmolive, Iberdrola, Hilton, Natura & Co – that have effectively aligned their business strategies with the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact and have taken concrete action on SDGs. The story highlights the benefits to be derived from joining the UN Global Compact in terms of business opportunities, international visibility and thematic insight.
The Giro d’Italia CSR, the Italian tour within the 7th edition of the Salone CSR and social innovation,opened in Turin on January 30, 2019. The event – promoted by Bocconi University, CSR Manager Network, Global Compact Network Italy, ASviS, Fondazione Sodalitas, Unioncamere, Koinètica – is an awaited appointment for those working on sustainability, social innovation and CSR, and is considered the most important event dedicated to these topics in Italy. Thanks to a comprehensive cultural program, characterized by an interdisciplinary approach, the event provides in-depth information and updates on strategies and sustainability tools for businesses and other organizations. This year, the focus is on the “areas of sustainability”.
In 2018, Global Compact Network Italy (GCNI) launched the Italian Business & SDGs Web Gallery, an online platform aiming to collect, share and promote business and non-business experiences in the advancement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In particular, the practices shared in the Gallery underline and analyze motivations, processes, strategies as well as outcomes and lessons related to the implementation of the SDGs by the private sector and by non-profit organizations.
The platform is an open and evolving tool to which companies and organizations can contribute by submitting their practices.