Italy has excellent areas of public research, know-how and knowledge production; however, private divestment in these fields is evident, as well as the lack of demand on the part of Italian companies lacking expertise and applied research
Most young people educated at Italian universities, especially the Polytechnic, fail to find a job and are therefore forced to emigrate.
Investments made by companies (more than the European average) to update their structures and products, have failed to take advantage of the many opportunities offered by Green Economy.
It is worth highlighting this point, due to the importance of the Italian productive circumstances and the crisis which it is still suffering.
Over these years, Italian companies have maintained constant investments at the highest European level regarding the GDP.
Apart from the limits of these indicators in terms of a measure of well-being, Italy is the only country of the OECD area that has maintained constant company investments, something which has decreased in other countries.
Nevertheless, the European GDP has increased 25%, Italy’s increasing only 11%.
The problem is, as we are told by economists, that twice as much investment is required for Italy to increase one point in the GDP.
Between 2000 and 2010, Italy is the only one of the industrialized countries whose industrial production has a markedly negative trend (-14%). The most significant aspect is the vertical drop of capital goods production. This means that, with constant investment, each action for updating the productive structure and improving its capacity of comparison and maintenance in the markets has led to imports from abroad.
In other words, the Italian productive structure specialized in mature sectors has only been able to incorporate innovation created by other countries, with the purpose of improving Made in Italy brand, but reducing capital goods production. And this at times in which markets were changing as a result of a growth in the technology capacity in the production of goods and services.
Under these premises, looking at European objectives implies looking at those fields of knowledge yet to be developed in applied technology and trying to relaunch industrial productive potential toward eco-innovated products.
This is to prevent what had already occurred as a result of the establishment of incentives for renewable energy industries, which have not managed to boost industrial production. And they have created jobs, but fewer than would have been possible. As regards results, although the energy produced in Italy has risen from 100 to 120, the trade balance for goods and services related to green economy and installed energy capacity has fallen from 100 to 80.
Therefore, Italy’s main problem is related to its productive structure.
To avoid causing situations like what is occurring with the Ilva factory in Taranto (mass deaths due to factory emissions), it is necessary to make productive systems sustainable: admit that coal is not sustainable; that aluminium is a recyclable mineral; or that some productions are still strategic and others are condemning us to more pollution and residues markets, preventing us from being present in the technology innovation process which theoretical and applied knowledge is making possible as a result of international and European restrictions.
This is the situation: it is not a question of adjustments. It is a matter of proposing more sensible eco-innovations on the basis of the needs of human beings, and less pollutant and consuming of resources and the planet’s regenerating capacity, avoiding the risk of the ecological deficit, fighting it and the consequences of climate change, water shortage, land use and degradation, biodiversity loss, the food crisis, and the increase in energy costs, related to fossil fuels.
It is important to take on a strategic view capable of tackling the diverse experiences existing and keeping up with world scenarios that have already been defined.
In this direction, it is necessary to define national legislative relationships for sustainable development, social development and for a more equitable, redistributive and environmentally friendly economy. How? By the definition of “swift action” national plans, capable of overcoming the fragmentation of decisions within the country’s general development plan, and, at the same time, of defining a medium and long term programme, within a complementary and strategic view, for the growth of green solidarity quality.
Here is where the proposal of the CGIL seeking to define a New Plan for Employment fits in.
The development of these transition policies must be accompanied by the structuring of the process management that goes with it, open to democratic participation in the taking of decisions.
It is possible to create employment. In relation to energy saving, there is still much to be done, specifically as regards intelligence, the management of energy and installations (Smart Grids are mostly imported, as isolation), as well as in the field of sustainable mobility, green building and urban regeneration, like recovering areas, carrying out sanitation of polluted sites, investing in infrastructures designed within the European scenarios that are already being made, etc.
Trade Union Initiative
Finally, and concerning the trade union initiative, I just point out that a lot of work is already available, developed by ITUC, ETUC and the Italian Trade Union Organizations.
Social debate is consolidated, and it has become more mature and stronger following the “RIO+20” Conference: the need to maintain social and environmental reflection together is guiding the initiative.
The effort on all levels should be that of renouncing demands for developing a fair transition and supporting decent work, updating sustainable development.
Within this framework, we have the protocol shared by CGIL (Italian General Confederation of Labour), CISL (Italian Confederation of Workers’ Trade Unions), and UIL (Italian Labour Trade Union) with the Ministry for the Environment to support national Sustainable Development, which now entails the deepening of the commitments made by Italy in Rio de Janeiro.
Furthermore, it is necessary to strongly demand the structuring of a “government for sustainable development” in accordance with the framework of international and European relationships, leaving behind the custom of failing to comply with guidelines which expose us to sanctions.
In addition to giving us access to the resources of the funds accompanying European strategies and programmes regarding environmental issues, this would enable us to have more to say at these forums, in order to demand recognition of Italian structural diversity related to seismic risk.
Tax Reform continues to be a central theme: it is proposed within the European guidelines framework, under the rule that “whoever pollutes, pays”, in the easing of the current tax burden on work, and taking into account OECD guidelines for overcoming the fossil fuels incentives.
The development of renewable energies must be pursued, as well as the overcoming of fossil fuels, accompanying the transition. Cutting emissions, actions to mitigate and overcome environmental risks are national and territorial issues that must be maintained in advance and not when the situations arise.
It is important, with regard to environmental issues, on the basis of what past experience has taught us concerning workplace safety, to create structures for research and participate in the definition of demands and contractual procedures.
One must support unitary trade union research and the creation of sustainability discussion Workshops, open to debate between different realities and associations to encourage the Italian society, both nationally and locally, and the promotion of shared initiatives.
In other words, from our organization, it is a matter of getting organized as best as possible on the various levels, national and regional, of the Chambers of Labour and Sectors, in order to make it possible to create jobs in a fairer and more sensible society, pursuing economic and social development and protecting the environment. Also for trying to set the agenda of the priority issues, on the different political and institutional levels, and to go from these principles to political processes of vindication that weigh heavily on reality and specifically change it.
Many of the major companies file their sustainability reports without conscience. And their approach to the workers whose labour fuels their profits is criminal.Ask any CEO if they would like their sons or daughters to work in the textile factories in Pakistan, the mines in the Congo, manufacturing plants in Central America, or as beer women in Cambodia, and they shudder.
Europe’s crisis is manifold: while newspapers focus on public deficits and debt, Austerity policies and wage cuts are boosting poverty and inequality in many parts of Europe
New technologies have sometimes had very harmful effects, but in many cases the early warning signs have been suppressed or ignored
The decision was adopted in response to EU Commission consultation on unconventional fossil fuels in Europe