Home Business Andrea Illy: “Italian companies can be leaders in the global transition”

Andrea Illy: “Italian companies can be leaders in the global transition”

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«In terms of steps forward, perhaps the result is mediocre. But from another point of view, the very fact of not having denied the Paris agreements is something enormous ». Whether you look at it as a half success or rather a half failure, for Andrea Illy the final result of Cop26 in Glasgow it is basically just a stage within a game that the institutions will only play in part.

Italian companies can do a lot for sustainability

“The public push can give the right incentives – explains the president of illycaffè – but a top-down approach in this area is short of breath. The real effort can only be done by companies, the main protagonists for innovation and ability to invest. And here Italy can play a leading role, becoming world champion in sustainability and ecological transition. And basically Glasgow confirms what we already knew: States alone are not enough to win the challenge ».
Investors on the one hand and consumers on the other represent important stakeholders who increasingly orient companies in a green direction, a road in which Italy has some additional chances. «The risk of competitive asymmetries exists – he explains – but our companies are strong above all in customized products, in niches of excellence with high added value. Far from the big series and mass productions, we can be the first to embrace the theme of sustainability with conviction. Not because Brussels imposes it or Greta Thunberg wishes it. But because this can give rise to a new competitive advantage ».

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La Regenerative Society Foundation

Road that Illy tries to take also directly, through the Regenerative Society Foundation, born in 2020 and made up of a coalition of private companies, non-profit organizations, universities and academies, with the support of various public and private partners. «The idea is to promote a new development model – he explains – by affecting primarily a sector, the enlarged agricultural one, which directly or indirectly determines half of the world‘s GDP. The basic point is not to reduce our consumption but to improve its quality, overcoming the “extraction” model and ensuring that the resources withdrawn are regenerated for later use ».
The Foundation, co-chaired by Andrea Illy and economist Jeffrey Sachs, presented in Glasgow an operational project for 3 supply chains in Kenya: wheat, coffee, pastoralism.
«We aim to generate environmental benefits – he clarifies – and other positive effects, improving people’s living standards and guaranteeing economic development. The technologies are there, now it is a question of applying them in a systematic way “.

Regenerative agriculture in Africa

The same project presented atIfad, UN agency for agricultural development, will now be exposed to companies, institutions and potential investors, in order to gather the necessary support to get the idea of ​​regenerative agriculture in Africa off the ground. “Which could become the first food producer in the world, adopting a model that is also capable of countering the drama of forced emigration through a concrete and sustainable path of local development.” already experimenting directly in Ethiopia. «There we have a new plantation – concludes Andrea Illy – but also a school, to spread the knowledge acquired and convey it throughout the territory. It is a first project which, however, already has a direct impact on 2 thousand people. And being a scheme that holds environment and development together, I believe it is the right path for the future ».

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