The secret ingredient of Italy’s economic upturn? According to artisans, it’s circular economy

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The CNA presents 5 proposals and calls on the government to embrace the challenge of a new productive system that could boost the GDP.

Artisans and Small & Medium-Sized Enterprises are calling on the Italian government to take up the challenge of the circular economy. The initiative comes from the CNA, the National Confederation of Handicraft and SMEs, and bases on the recent estimates made by the joint study of the Ellen McArthur Foundation and McKinsey for Business and Environment: circular economy could make the European GDP grow by 7% in 15 years, with an annual productivity increase of 3%, and total benefits for the EU economy quantifiable in € 1.8 billion.

The Confederation is hoping that EU Commissioner for the Environment Karmenu Vella will approve the new action plan of the EU on circular economy as soon as possible. The action plan includes a package of reforms aimed at redesigning the whole economic system in view of the so-called fourth industrial revolution. The reforms are meant to reduce the impact of raw materials on industrial costs, as such impact “currently touches 40% of industrial costs and often forces countries and entrepreneurs to put up with questionable policies at the political, financial, and human level”, says the CNA.

“The circular economy offers promising perspectives to enterprises interested in that sector – said CNA President Daniele Vaccarino, after a conference entitled “The new circular economy package: impacts and new opportunities for SMEs” – We’re talking about an economic model where materials are reused and recycled, and never definitively dumped. Take the current waste problem: if you look at how much material goes wasted in our exasperated consumerism, you’ll see why we believe this trend needs to be reverted. Enterprises that have embraced this new challenge are starting to see the fruits of their decision. Enterprises such as these need to be helped and supported more, and today we discussed and presented the measures we wish to see approved to promote and expedite the transition to the so-called circular economy”.

Italian environmental norms are often complex, rigid, even incoherent, and they sometimes create obstacles to the actual implementation of the norm itself – says the CNA – At the same time, Italy is still lacking a concrete strategy to introduce a green transition. Small enterprises are willing and able to be the protagonists of this historical change. Sustainable innovation, in effect, is mostly being implemented by small and medium enterprises, which have introduced new sustainable processes and products, significantly increasing their competitiveness. What we need is to create the necessary conditions to support this change. We need a new development model able to protect the territory and local resources, which are fundamental for small enterprises. We want to see a change of course in the political agenda, and we’re ready to do our part with our proposals”.

The following points present the first five proposals presented today by the CNA:

  1. Conciliate the protection of the environment with the simplicity of applicable norms, because complex rules do not necessarily help the environment, on the contrary, they often make its protection too complicated.
  2. Define a multi-annual strategy containing concrete means to help the investments of green enterprises, especially smaller ones.
  3. Improve the ability of the Italian entrepreneurial system to use the existing economic resources.
  4. Create collaborations between enterprises and between enterprises, Public Administration, and research.
  5. Introduce a new mandate on environmental themes with the aim of making existing norms more coherent with a circular economic model. This would be achieved by defining a middle-long term project able to increase the impact of the relevant policies in order to concretely implement the commitments made in this field.

For further information, visit the website of the CNA

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