Sustainability & CSR

June 5: World Environment Day

World Environment Day

The World Environment Day is celebrated every year on June 5 to raise awareness of environmental issues, which in recent years have become increasingly critical; this international event is promoted by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to draw attention to the issues of protection and safeguarding of the Earth. This year the focus is on desertification, drought and soil restoration.

For IBSA, this event is an opportunity to reflect on the importance of preserving and valorising the environment and to promote a responsible behaviour towards the protection of our planet, through a series of activities.

We talk about it with Chiara Piccolo, ESG Manager at IBSA.

What is the value of this Day?

This anniversary is particularly significant for two reasons. First of all, it has a symbolic value that dates back to the Stockholm Conference of 1972, during which the United Nations General Assembly designated a day to reflect on environmental issues, such as the protection of soil and air and the fight against pollution. Secondly, over the years, this day has become a concrete platform involving 143 countries, governments, businesses and non-governmental organisations. Every year a specific topic is addressed, and concrete solutions are sought: in 2023 the topic was plastic pollution, and a binding agreement was reached to reduce it. This year, the choice to hold the event in Saudi Arabia is strategic, as the country faces desertification issues and has implemented solutions that can be shared globally.

Desertification, drought, soil restoration: how can these issues affect the lives of people and the ecosystems?

The issue of desertification, drought and soil restoration is crucial for global environmental, economic and social sustainability: when land degradation occurs, it affects people’s lives, their health, the economy and their safety. These issues are closely related to Sustainable Development Goal number 12 (one of the 2030 sustainability objectives indicated by the UN – editor’s note), which promotes responsible consumption and production. Consumption decisions directly influence the well-being of the environment and the communities. For example, the so-called fast-fashion sector has a devastating impact on the environment: producing clothes that are used only a few times causes a huge waste of resources and contributes to desertification and drought. In addition to affecting ecosystems, these phenomena can also lead to social crises linked to the excess use of water and the exploitation of labour.

How can companies make a concrete contribution?

Companies can adopt responsible consumption and production practices, and encourage them throughout their value chains. They can require their suppliers to prove the sustainable origin of raw materials and avoid practices that are harmful to the environment and the communities. Additionally, companies can develop more sustainable products, reducing their environmental impact throughout the product’s life cycle. These actions promote a transparent and responsible management of resources, and incentivise greater awareness among consumers, which contribute to accelerating the demand for more sustainable products and services, creating attractive markets for companies investing in these issues.

IBSA has always been committed to promoting environmental awareness and to encouraging sustainable behaviours, thus contributing to the protection of the planet. The Company recently launched its Sustainability Manifesto as a further step within its ESG commitment. Can you tell us what your path was and what are your goals?

Our commitment to environmental sustainability is a dynamic and on-going process. The first part of our journey was dedicated to understanding and measuring the effects of our activities on the environment and defining the priority areas of intervention. Over the years, we have implemented several projects to reduce our environmental impact and promote virtuous practices. In recent times, all initiatives have been integrated into a medium-/long-term strategy, coherent and aligned with corporate priorities. The launch of the Sustainability Manifesto represents a significant milestone in this journey, as it formalises and strengthens our commitment to clear and measurable objectives. These include the reduction of carbon emissions, the optimisation of the use of natural resources and packaging and a better waste management, with the identification of opportunities for reduction, reuse and recycling. The next step will be to encourage sustainable behaviours, both within the company and in our supply chain, and to promote environmental awareness among our stakeholders.

How can individuals and local communities contribute to safeguarding the Earth?

We all play a crucial role in safeguarding the planet. On a personal level, it is important to adopt responsible behaviours, first and foremost, by avoiding waste: I mentioned the fast-fashion industry earlier, but the food supply chain also presents similar critical issues, with a third of the food produced globally ending up in the garbage. As consumers, we have the duty to make informed choices, informing ourselves about the impacts of our actions related to the products we purchase. We have the power to direct our preferences towards products that limit the use of virgin plastic; we can support the local economy and the short supply chain and at the same time get used to saving energy, water and preferring public and eco-friendly means of transport. At community level, however, it is appropriate to organise environmental awareness and education events, promoting responsible consumption practices through appropriate policies. The contribution of everyone, at all levels, can lead to concrete, significant and lasting changes.

Looking ahead, how do you imagine IBSA in twenty years’ time in terms of sustainability and social impact? Are there any long-term goals the company aims to achieve?

We want to be recognised not only for the quality of our products, but also for our ethical and sustainable approach; in other words, for what we actually do. For this reason, with the involvement of various Functions, we are working on an ambitious strategy for the decarbonisation of our operations, in line with the Paris Agreement. Within the product development activities, our experts are oriented towards the selection of eco-friendly raw materials and processes, to create a more sustainable product offering.

World Environment Day

What message would you like to send to our readers?

Whether it’s small daily gestures or large-scale actions, every contribution counts. So let’s put them into practice: sustainability is a global challenge that requires everyone’s collaboration, and together we can make a difference for the generations that will inhabit this Earth in the near future.