Internationally, fields ranging from architecture to corporate policies, finance, transport and consumer goods have begun to mobilise. The market for ecologically sound construction properties – so-called bio-construction – has witnessed a boom in the past two years.
Several international brands are becoming sustainability ambassadors. This is the case with VF Corporation (which Timberland is part of). Its Swiss Italian headquarters are housed in an enormous environmentally friendly building in Stabio, which was awarded the “LEED Green Building Silver” certification for energy efficiency in 2016. The bioarchitectonic solu-tions adopted by the fashion giant have contributed to an energy efficiency increase of 41% compared to other buildings of similar dimensions. Moreover, VF has encouraged a series of initiatives involving the local community, in order to raise awareness on sustainability themes, by engaging employees, citizens, universities and trade associations. To promote more responsible forms of transport, VF has also constructed its building a few steps from the railway station.
VF is a great example of what a mix of bio-construction, corporate sustainability and green transport can achieve. And this last aspect is of particular importance where the protection of planet Earth’s resources is concerned: in recent years the market for emission-free vehi-cles has enjoyed solid growth. Today, new sources of sustainable fuels are being imple-mented, as alternatives to fossil fuels –cannabis is one such recent case. Not to mention the rising popularity of car and electric motorcycle sharing services, comparable to invest-ments in bike paths and bike sharing by administrative councils and new start-ups in the whole of Europe.
2017 has also witnessed the boom of socially responsible investments by asset manage-ment companies: research by the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance has underlined that sustainable investments worldwide grew by 25% in 2016 (compared to 2014), reaching 22.890 billion dollars. Institutional and private investors are favouring listed entities gov-erned by sustainability criteria, rather than companies tethered to fossil fuels. This intensi-fies the pressure on companies to ensure socially responsible actions are taken: if once the lack of interest in environmental issues was the key to maximizing profits, today this strat-egy risks back-firing.
In finance, architecture, transport and consumer goods, a growing awareness of sustaina-bility issues does exist, although this is not enough to avert the tragic scenario we are head-ing towards. We are taking only delayed action and regardless how much noise environ-mental activists create, it remains a marginal issue. The creation of a development scheme where environment, wellbeing and social equality coexist in harmony should be a mere starting point.