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Investing in the circular economy ensures competitive advantages

The economic return is greater for those who decide to investing in the circular economy, but skills in the company must increase

(sustainabilityenvironment.com) – Investing in the circular economy guarantees a greater economic return. This is the main data that emerges from the presentation made yesterday of the second Observatory cleantech entitled “Environmental Sustainability, Circular Economy and Energy Efficiency in SMEs and Large Enterprises”. However, there are still too few investments aimed at making the production cycle more circular.

What sensibilities and behaviours do companies have when it comes to sustainability? The research started from this question, interviewing a representative sample of 450 SMEs and large Italian companies. The goal was to take a snapshot of the path of companies towards sustainable development, better understanding what investments are made in energy efficiency and circular economy.

Read also Circularity Gap Report 2023, we waste more than 90% of resources

The data that emerge are interesting: in a note the Observatory reports that “62% of Italian companies, almost 2 out of 3, declare that investments in sustainability and the circular economy have generated a greater economic return“. Not only that: “50% of the companies interviewed say they have improved their reputation and 33% add that they have also obtained a competitive advantage over competitors“.

Less than half of the sample, however, plans to invest even more in sustainability projects in the coming years. A third, however, says it will invest more in circular economy projects. There is more: if it is true that green investments pay, it is also true that few make them to change their business. According to the Observatory, 2023 certifies a doubling, but we are at 16% of total companies compared to 9% in 2022. Really too little. “The investments mainly concern the supply of recycled materials and the recycling of production waste, while only 14% of the investments are destined to projects of industrial symbiosis“.

Where are the obstacles? For 47% of the companies surveyed the lack of skills in the company is a primary problem to increase the commitment to sustainability. For 41% the regulation is still too complicated, even more so on issues of circularity.

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