Environment: Number of Italian circular economy platform partners rises to 100


The objective is to draw up a national strategic agenda proposal – having pinpointed 8 priorities.

In the two years of its life, the Italian ICESP circular economy stakeholders’ platform, coordinated by ENEA, has gained about 100 partners drawn from institutions, companies, associations, trade unions, universities, research bodies, and regional and municipal government authorities. This emerged from the proceedings of the Second Annual ICESP Conference, which took stock of the initiative, and identified the eight priorities of the national strategic agenda for the circular economy (Agenda strategica nazionale per l’economia circolare), modelling this action on the example of actions undertaken in other European countries. Objective: to adopt as soon as possible a national circular economy strategy (Strategia nazionale sull’economia circolare) that includes an Action Plan, and to create an Agency for the efficient use of resources, by exploiting existing skills bases and structures.

The eight action-priorities for a strategic national Agenda regard economic instruments, standards, regulatory affairs, technical resources and monitoring tools, initiatives boosting the market for by-products and recycled materials, strengthening the infrastructural system, training new professionals, and disseminating the culture of circularity. The new partners of the Platform (established in 2018 on the model of − and as requested by − the European ECESP Platform) include Acea Ambiente, Confartigianato, Utilitalia, CGIL, CISL, UIL, Confindustria Venezia Giulia, Cluster Agrifood, Legacoop Puglia, the Polytechnics of Milan and Bari, Confetra, FISE Assoambiente, Italbiotec, and the Italian Composting Consortium and Friends of the Earth (Consorzio Italiano Compostatori and Amici della Terra), working alongside the Ministries of the Environment and of Economic Development, the Agency for Territorial Cohesion, and players such as Enel, Eni, Hera, Novamont, Nespresso, Confindustria, CNA, Unioncamere and FISE UNICIRCULAR, as well as a number of regional government authorities (Emilia Romagna, Puglia, Lombardy, Umbria). “The high number of participants is a most encouraging sign, underscoring the considerable attention paid in Italy to circular economy issues. Today, we are a leader in Europe, but we must carry forward proposals and concrete projects in order to overcome the current barriers and to avoid being downgraded”, concluded ENEA’s President Federico Testa. “The platform is a most significant example of collaboration, at the various stages of the value chain, among players – diverse, but all equally essential. The common goal is to work together with practical, synergic, integrated projects and actions that enable the sistema paese (country as system) to seize the enormous openings provided by the circular economy”. According to Roberto Morabito − Director of the Sustainability Department of the Production and Territorial Systems of ENEA and President of ICESP − , “The ICESP platform started up a couple of years ago with 16 partners. In February 2019 the number rose to 53. With approval by yesterday’s Assembly of the new candidates, we now count about 100 formal partners, in addition to all who take part in our working groups on an informal basis”. He added, “This is an excellent result in a sector that has been a priority area at ENEA for years, with dedicated infrastructures and over one hundred researchers and technologists engaging in various activities and projects. Using these competences, we represent Italy in the Platform of ECESP circular-economy stakeholders, where we work to disseminate the ‘Italian model’ of a circular economy and to highlight what our country is doing in this field”.

The six working groups activated within ICESP regard research and eco-innovation; dissemination of knowledge and training; policy and governance tools with the focus on End of Waste; measurement tools; and systems for design, production and sustainable, circular distribution and consumption targeting three strategic chains: construction and demolition; textiles-apparel and fashion, electrical mobility, city and territory, good practices and integrated approaches. These groups have developed and mapped over 60 good practices for production chains and towns and outlying areas, classing them according to a methodology based on theme areas such as waste management, production, consumption, innovation, and investments − while also assessing repeatability and possible effects on the local, regional and national levels. The Working Groups have also adopted an inclusive and multi-sectoral approach to production of reviews and of reports on existing good practices and on the Italian approach to circular economy management, highlighting specific critical areas and priority actions to be implemented at various levels, thus fostering national transition – i.e. transition of Italy seen as a Sistema Paese (country as system).

Starting out from the identified priorities, the ICESP Conference has enabled representatives of the business world, of national institutions and of the European Commission to compare notes in their efforts to create a roadmap for a strategic national circular economy Agenda.

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