Resource use and the need for a move to a circular economy are key themes at the Club of Rome’s 50th-anniversary conference being held today.
Opening the speeches, Virginia Raggi – Mayor of Rome said: “50 years ago we weren’t aware. Today we are aware. At the time we didn’t understand that pollution and other problems were connected – today we talk about the environment and sustainable growth in a world with scarce resources.”
The Club of Rome was born in 1968 when a network of entrepreneurs, diplomats, scientists and economists came together under the leadership of Italian industrialist Aurelio Peccei and Alexander King, then Science Director of the OECD.
The group was united in their concern about the future of humanity and the planet and assumed responsibility to make politicians and decision-makers worldwide aware of the most crucial issues of the future.
According to Raggi, it has “played important role in enhancing the debate on the development of humankind”.
In 1972 the organisation published its first report on the predicament of humanity, ’The Limits to Growth’, in which it warned of the consequences of pursuing unlimited material growth and uninhibited consumption in a world of limited resources.
Speaking at today’s event, Sergio Costa, Italian Minister for the Environment, Protection of Land and Sea, said: “My grandfathers thought differently about the environment to me and my children think differently again”
“Real people are talking about the environment and we should try and capture this sentiment. Small steps will really bring forward a big change,” he continued. “If you think sincerely that the problems can be solved by the big leaders, you should leave the room immediately.”
He went on to note that last week Nobel Prizes were awarded to Paul Romer and William Nordhaus for their work on the climate and economic growth.
“If we really want to change and save the planet we must also change economics. Those who are in charge of the economy must really start thinking about it… It’s huge,” urged the minister.
He also explained that in Italy the remit of delivering a circular economy is formerly part of the ministry of environment, not the treasury, and that means that parliament has understood that the part of the economy that is interested in the future of the planet cannot be based on optimising profits.
Lorrenzo Fioramonti Italian Deputy Minister for Education University and Research told delegates that “the time for research is over. We’ve done the research… It is time we go back to the basics. My home is planet Earth. I have no intention to go to another planet”.
Rome’s Mayor also struck a similar note: “We have the keys to this planet, and it is the only home we have available.”
A Circular Bioeconomy
In her presentation to the meeting, Catia Bastioli, CEO of Italian biobased compostable plastics manufacturer Novamont made the case for a circular bioeconomy.
She highlighted the fact that in Europe there is 100 million tonnes of waste produced each year, yet two-thirds is not used, partly due to those wastes being polluted with materials such as microplastics.
“A circular bioeconomy means to use renewable sources. It offers a great opportunity to connect food, waste, agriculture, soil and water,” said Bastioli. “It can also link society with the economy. Social fabric is not less important than the environment, but we need local communities working together for the environment.”
Reggi concluded: “Citizens, us, should be really aware and become active. It’s a really big challenge… We may pay lipservice to these themes, but when it comes to changing our own lifestyle it’s a different thing.”
Novamont’s Biodegradable Answer to Plastic Pollution from Microbeads
To tackle the problems created by microplastics, both in the waste stream and the environment, Italian bioplastic firm has developed a range of readily biodegradable ingredients.
Italian Firm to Raise Renwable Content of Compostable Bioplastic to 40%
At the recent G7 environmental summit, Italian biotech firm Novamont unveiled its decision to introduce a 40% minimum threshold for bio-based content in all of its MATER-BI compostable bioplastics.
Novamont to Reduce Impact of Waste Generated at the Giro d’Italia & Boost Recycling
Novamont is to provide materials and technical support to increase the environmental sustainability of this year’s Giro d’Italia cycling race, reducing waste sent to landfill.
€100m Bio-Butanediol Plant to Boost Renewable Content of Compostable Plastics
Novamont has opened its €100 million renewable bio-butanediol plant to manufacture an important intermediary product for compostable plastics in Bottrighe, Italy.