A world without waste

Welcome to the first of the Intesa Sanpaolo Talks. In this podcast series, we’ll be looking at the Italian way to the circular economy.


The Italian way to a circular economy: A world without waste


Gregorio de Felice - Chief economist Intesa Sanpaolo

The circular economy is at the heart of Intesa Sanpaolo’s strategy. To underline its commitment to the concept, the Italian-founded global bank recently unveiled a €5 billion fund exclusively for circular-economy projects.
Intesa Sanpaolo’s chief economist, Gregorio De Felice, argues that “the circular economy is a game-changer as it redefines the concept of growth. The transition towards the new paradigm requires moving from the concept of necessity to that of opportunity; in other words, from the efficient use of resources and the rational management of waste to the redesign of products in order to regenerate resources. What is now destined to be waste can became a resource for a new production cycle.”
De Felice also stresses that the circular economy is not a cost, but can create significant, lucrative and transformative opportunities.
“The role of financial institutions should not be limited to providing credit,” he told the Annual Summit of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in London. “They can be agents of change, stimulating innovation and providing education.”
De Felice was speaking in the first of the Intesa Sanpaolo Talks, a podcast series that will look at the Italian way to the circular economy.

“The role of financial institutions should not be limited to providing credit. They can be agents of change, stimulating innovation and providing education”

Gregorio de Felice, chief economist Intesa Sanpaolo

Intesa Sanpaolo’s first major investment of the new fund’s money was a €200 million financing agreement with the UK’s biggest water company, Thames Water. Alberto Mancuso, general manager of Intesa Sanpaolo’s London hub, described the deal as “highly significant, as it enables Thames Water not just to clean the water, but also to provide its customers with better, safer water in the future.” He added that preserving and reusing water was now hugely important, even in Western countries.
The Italian embassy in London shares Intesa Sanpaolo’s passion for the circular economy and practises what it preaches with its zero-waste project, announced at its latest Italy4Innovation conference.
Raffaele Trombetta, the ambassador, believes there is a specific Italian way to the circular economy, which is one of the reasons they have entrusted this project to Catia Bastioli, ceo of Novamont, an Italian bio-based and biodegradable plastics innovator, and Sabrina Corbo, ceo and founder of Green Network Energy, a second Italian company, which will supply the embassy with green low-carbon energy.
Gregorio De Felice explains how much of Intesa Sanpaolo’s focus has to be on making projects realistic and achievable.
“Our ultimate goals are creating value for our shareholders and our customers, and we aim to support sustainable growth. The bank has a very important responsibility. It can play a pivotal role in the economy and society,” he says.