The “green” path as a strategy for efficiency, growth, and employment. This is the business bet that was undertaken, over the past five years, by 330,000 Italian companies – partly because of their will to make the productive processes more efficient and to respond to the growing attention and sensibility towards the environment; and partly with the goal of characterizing one’s business in terms of innovation and sustainability.

In Tuscany – reads the 2013 GreenItaly report compiled by Unioncamere and the Symbola Foundation – there are approximately 21,500 companies in the industrial and tertiary sectors that, between 2008 and 2013, invested in “green” products and technologies able to ensure higher energy savings and to contain the environmental impact: a number that represents approximately 20% of the companies present in the second and third sectors present in the Region. The highest concentration is in the Florentine province, with 5,300 businesses. According to the research, the “eco-investments” serve as a dynamicity index: the companies that aimed at the green line, according to the data, are those who are more oriented towards exports – also because they can play the environmental card to promote themselves from a marketing perspective – and attentive to innovations regarding both products and processes, but they simultaneously have a greater tendency to hire new workers with a significant impact on the territory within which they operate.
On the theme of employment, the GreenItaly report captures, for the first time, the so-called “green jobs”, that is to say, workers who specifically apply their “green” know-how to their activities: in Italy, they count more than 3 million, and the forecast is that an additional 52,000 hires in 2013 will strengthen the ranks of this category which is present primarily in the manufacturing and public utilities sectors. The forecast indicates there will be 2,500 new green jobs in Tuscany during the current year.

And the eco-investment sectors? “A first datum is that the green theme is seen by many businesses as a new driver to tackle the recession and increase one’s competitiveness on the global market – GreenItaly underscores. A second datum, even more clear in this year’s survey, is the pervasive and transversal character across all sectors of economic activity.” From furnishing to ceramics, from mechanics to construction, from textile to logistics: there are multiple domains, in both production and tertiary sectors, in which business are playing out their “green” wager.

The Unioncamere-Symbola relationship spotlights different Tuscan case studies. In logistics, it is the Pisa-based Revet, a recyclables collecting company that is experimenting on a new software to optimize the use of personnel and vehicles. In energy, 40South Energy has created a generator capable of transforming the movement of waves into electricity. In garments, the Eco High-Tech Shoes projects for the shoemaking district in Valdarno Inferiore has led to the development of new materials coming from renewable sources to produce portions of the shoes. In the renewables, the reference point is Power One Italia, a subsidiary of the American group and second world producer of inverters. In the textile, an innovation for construction came from Manifattura Maiano, which perfected an insulation material created from recycled textile fibers. Other examples of green wagers in the textile-garment sector are Next Technology Tecnotessile, who is working at a waterless jeans fading procedure, and the Prato-based Remo group, who provided a tag for garments that can reconstruct the entire production and consumption cycle.