Innovation and sustainability, the decisive combination of recovery

8 July 2020

The pandemic has shown how sustainability is no longer to be considered a secondary aspect, but, on the contrary, a fundamental component on which to leverage for the restart.

“The ‘new normal’ will be based on innovation and sustainability”, said Manuel Butler, Executive Director of the UNWTO – World Tourism Organization association in a recent interview, noting that the green aspects are increasingly transversal and never as in this historical phase do they concern all areas, none excluded. The experts agree in recognizing a greater weight to energy and environmental reforms within the production processes of companies and the economic system of the countries.

What will be the skills required of managers dealing with the post-pandemic situation? We talked about it with Matteo Mura, Associate Professor in Economic Management Engineering at the University of Bologna and Scientific Director of the Global MBA in Green Energy and Sustainable Businesses of Bologna Business School.

“Sustainability can be applied, in different ways, in all companies, therefore the effort required of managers and professionals in any sector will be to change their mind-set by developing transversal skills and at the same time a new language.

The issue of measurement is of fundamental importance: some speak of sustainability as something abstract, on the contrary, the scope of new sustainable business models will have a significant weight in social, environmental and economic terms and it will be fundamental to measure the externalities, positive or negative, generated by businesses. Speaking of measurement, the world of finance approached these issues already at COP 24 held in Katowice in November 2018, precisely because the enormous potential for economic return on these emerging aspects was assessed.

Furthermore, the role of sustainable finance will be fundamental in the coming years, as the important transitions towards sustainability (mobility, energy, industry, cities and agriculture) that we will have to face in the coming years will require a strong capital injection.

To introduce circular economic logic, an important reflection on the value chains will be necessary, considering that companies are within an increasingly complex ecosystem of value, or value network, where an intersection of different actors occurs.

To all this must be added the consideration of a new sensitivity on environmental issues: in the lockdown phase pollution has touched minimum levels in many cities and this has shown us that natural ecosystems take very little time to regenerate. Thanks to this ‘forced experiment’ that we have all experienced, images of clear waters, blue skies, clean air, animals that took possession of urban and natural spaces have circulated, all this at the expense of economic growth and social well-being. It will be important to reflect now on how to do business in the “new normal”, introducing decoupling logics, in which economic growth and social well-being are decoupled from the use of natural resources and the impacts on ecosystems, creating an extraordinary situation. win-win. Such scenarios are already present in many European industrial ecosystems and could be successfully replicated in our territories, creating extraordinary opportunities for economic, social and environmental development”.

Author: Matteo Mura


Back To Top