Interventions on sustainable practices preferred by companies are those involving renewable sources and energy efficiency.

Istat surveys on sustainable practices of manufacturing and service companies in 2022 and outlook 2023-2025

For both investments made in 2022 and those intended to be made in the next two years, the most successful sustainability interventions are those on renewables and energy efficiency.

Manufacture

Looking at manufacturing, it is estimated that 59.5% of companies in 2022 have taken sustainability actions. Among them, 50.3 percent take environmental protection actions, 44.6 percent take social sustainability actions, and 36.8 percent take economic sustainability actions.

In 2022 among manufacturing companies that carry out sustainability actions for environmental protection, the most frequent initiatives involve renewables and energy efficiency, 22.3 percent and 20.4 percent of companies, respectively.

This is followed by water reduction and/or recycling, with 14.9 percent of companies involved. In terms of circularity of production processes, besides water recycling, 11.8 percent of enterprises use secondary raw materials and only 5.5 percent adhere to industrial symbiosis, 5.2 percent reuse production residual waste, and 4.7 percent of enterprises recycle materials by redesigning production processes.

FIGURE 1. SUSTAINABLE PRACTICES IN MANUFACTURING ENTERPRISES BY SIZE, GEOGRAPHICAL BREAKDOWN AND ECONOMIC SECTOR. Year 2022. Number of actions taken – percentage values

 

Geographically, it is manufacturing companies in the Northeast and Northwest that carry out the most sustainability initiatives, 61.8 percent and 60.2 percent, respectively. In the Center it is 58.9 percent, while in the South the percentage is smaller, only 48.5 percent of enterprises.

Large enterprises are on average the most active in all sustainability practices: more than 4/5 of large enterprises (81.5 percent) and only 36.1 percent of small enterprises do sustainability actions.

Intentions for the next two years

For the period 2023-2025, based on what has been stated, it is estimated that there will be a significant increase in the number of enterprises that will carry out environmental protection activities: 64.5% of manufacturing enterprises surveyed by Istat.

Among the initiatives planned for the next 2 years we still find renewables (44.2% of enterprises) and energy efficiency with (28.9% of enterprises) in the lead.

Service companies

Similar trends are found among companies in the service sector: 50.4 percent took sustainability actions during 2022. Here, too, greater activism of large firms (over 1,000 employees): here 80.3 percent of firms, carry out sustainability actions (compared to 36.6 percent of firms with three to 999 employees).

The transportation and warehousing sector has the highest percentage of firms active in sustainability actions with 67.7 percent of firms, the tourism services sector is the least virtuous, only 39.3 percent of firms pursue sustainability actions, of which 36.5 percent are active in environmental sustainability.

In 2022, energy efficiency and renewable sources are the most undertaken initiatives, by 23.1 percent and 22.2 percent of service enterprises respectively, followed by saving for product transportation with 19.4 percent.

FIGURE 2. SUSTAINABLE PRACTICES OF SERVICE ENTERPRISES BY SIZE, GEOGRAPHICAL BREAKDOWN AND ECONOMIC SECTOR. Year 2022. Number of actions taken – percentage values