I. Guidelines and General Principles
“The second Italian NAP-BHR intends to strengthen the application of the UNGPs through a series of complementary measures, referring in particular to the following guidelines:
– addressing issues and practices related to the protection of the environment, health, decent work and ‘Human Rights Defenders’, also in the face of the new challenges posed by the gig economy and in the context of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP), in correlation with the challenges of multi-dimensional post-Covid-19 reconstruction” (p. 7)
“The evolutionary reading of BHR issues has taken on an innovative connotation also in the European context: the Commission has proposed a series of important legislative initiatives on aspects such as sustainable corporate governance and related reporting methods, development cooperation, trade dynamics, sustainable finance, labour and environmental dimensions, analysis of the impact of business activities in environmental, social and governance terms, with a view to achieving the SDGs and implementing the multi-actor and multi-dimensional commitments introduced in the 2030 Agenda.” (p. 9)
b) Italy and the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs)
“The NAP addresses the issue of the negative impact of business activities on human rights and identifies specific commitments with the aim of effectively integrating the UNGPs into the national system and business activities” and introduces limited objectives and actions, with reference to the national context translated into the following priorities:
6. The promotion of environmental protection and sustainability.”
c) National Priorities
“The promotion of protection of the ecosystem and environmental sustainability processes, taking into consideration the impact of business companies’ actions on peoples and communities in the medium and long term.”
III. Expectations towards business companies
“The renewed and dynamic entrepreneurial approach is based on corporate governance structures to overcoming short-term financial advantages for environmental, social and human sustainability in the medium and long term in the context of the European Union’s initiatives on the circular economy, biodiversity and sustainable financial growth.” (p. 12)
IV. Italian ongoing activities and future commitments
a) Foundational Principles
“pursue an organizational and reform process in the decontamination sector, acting on both administrative and operational functions in collaboration with regional bodies, to renew and make the system more efficient, combating environmental damage” (p. 15)
Irregular work and the agricultural sector
“Promoting a system of farms that is economically, socially and environmentally sustainable is essential to ensure product quality and decent working conditions, as well as to enhance the economic potential of companies and promote growth and welfare in different territories.” (p. 20)
“Circular Economy; National Waste Management Programme; National Waste Production Prevention Programme
Italy, with regard to the Initiative undertaken in December 2019 by the new EU Commission for a Green Deal that aims by 2050 to a climate-neutral Europe, has established a fund for public investment (€ 4.24 billion for years from 2020 to 2023). It is intended to support innovative investment projects and programmes with a high level of environmental sustainability, which will be used to support investments in relation to circular economy, as well as in de-carbonisation, urban regeneration, sustainable tourism, adaptation and mitigation of risks from climate change. In this perspective, the redefinition of the ‘Industry 4.0 Plan’ is also fundamental, with greater attention to environmental sustainability for encouraging green investments by companies in circular economy. In the same perspective, further fiscal measures have been foreseen, including incentives for packaging reuse and recycling , purchase of products, through efficiency of production processes and greater awareness, responsibility and collaboration by consumers both in purchase, use and conservation of products. The European regulatory package on circular economy, already implemented by Italy by four separate legislative decrees, establishes a concrete action programme based on an economic model based on production activities and consumption into the cycle to reduce environmental. The circular approach redefines efficient management of inputs and outputs, towards the definition of closed and regenerative cycles with an impact on economic, natural and social capital. In the context of the European Action Plan for the Circular Economy, the Government, through dialogue with local authorities and constant consultation of public and private operators and trade associations – intends to develop technical and administrative tools to ensure the support and development of coherent supply chains according to an approach of economic circularity. The Ministry for Ecological Transition is in charge for monitoring implementation of legislative decrees enforcing the ‘Circular Economy Package’ and preparation of corrective decrees; National Action Plan for the environmental sustainability of consumption in the Public Administration will be defined to maximize green public procurement; further tools for the development of ‘circular’ supply chains will be completed, through the adoption of Minimum Environmental Criteria for new production sectors; decrees concerning waste management will be drafted; the National Waste Prevention Programme will be updated; the waste traceability register will be implemented. In the area of waste, the essential core of a circular economy, important measures have already been adopted and others are planned, according to a precise timetable already outlined.
On September 23, 2020, Legislative Decree No. 116, implementing Directive (EU) 2018/851, included in the so-called “circular economy package”, came into force. This Decree introduced, among other things, Art. 198-bis of the Environmental Code, which provides for the adoption of the “National Programme for Waste Management”: in this framework the Ministry for Ecological Transition, in collaboration with ISPRA, will set macro-objectives, criteria and strategic guidelines to be endorsed by Regions and Autonomous Provinces in the preparation of the Regional Waste Management Plans. The Programme intends to pursue, also with the involvement of stakeholders, a greater synergy in the country to address the lack of plants and a remedy to the so-called NIMBY syndrome (“not in my backyard”) that often represents a brake on the achievement of circular economy targets.
Another tool, in transposition of EU Directives 851/2018 and 852/2018, is the National Waste Production Prevention Programme (PNPR), provided by Art. 180 of the Environment Code and demanding from Regions – according to Art. 199, paragraph 3, lett. R) – the adoption of Waste Production Prevention Programmes (PRPRs). Finally, in implementation of the EU Directives for the establishment of a national register as a key tool for circular economy, the aforementioned Ministry has started preliminary experimentation, creating a prototype of the National Waste e-Register for waste 36 traceability, to check its functionality and usability and in particular the interoperability with the management systems currently used by companies. In 2021 R.E.N.T.R.I. webpage was published (www.rentri.it), providing for a proper section reserved for the Experimental Laboratory for Functional Prototyping. Since then companies were able to test it. The R.E.N.T.R.I. timetable foresees user accreditation, validation of the authorization through application access to information systems, contextual registers with interoperability on the REN to communicate data on movements noted in the register to the REN.
Sustainable Development (National Strategy on Sustainable Development – SNSvS; environmental management systems and certifications; “Made Green in Italy”; Minimum Environmental Criteria – CAM; climate change – PNRR)
Within environmental management systems for companies, the recognition of the Ecolabel and related adhesion to eco-management and audit (EMAS) is particularly important. The Italian national competent body for applying community schemes is the Committee for the Ecolabel and Ecoaudit, established in 1995 and currently composed of representatives of the Ministries for Ecological Transition, Economic Development, Health and Economy and Finance, with the technical support of ISPRA. Since 2018 the regulation for the promotion of products with high environmental qualification certified by the “Made Green in Italy” (MGI) logo is in force: it is aimed at promoting sustainable models of production and consumption, according to the EU PEF (Product Environmental Footprint) methodology for the determination of environmental footprint of products as defined in EU Commission Recommendation 2013/179/EU. The purpose of the MGI scheme is to direct the initiatives of the Italian production system towards use of environmental footprint as a lever for the improvement and enhancement of Made in Italy products with good environmental performance (guaranteed by a scientifically reliable system). It aims to facilitate the identification of products by consumers so as to encourage more conscious choices. It combines environmental sustainability performance of products, throughout their value chain, with Made in Italy, linked to excellent national production system. It is an institutional certification based on the European PEF methodology, implemented through additional sustainability requirements and more ambitious national environmental quality requirements. In addition, it is the only certification that integrates requirements that ask companies to communicate environmental footprint of products to consumers (ISO14025 type 3 labels), with requirements that allow access to the scheme only for excellent products, better than the average (ISO 14024 type 1 labels). Considerable opportunities are therefore provided for national producers who intend to make use of this new tool, which straddles the line between environmental policy and corporate marketing. In fact, many sectors have expressed interest in the scheme and are hoping for a new call for CPRs. Adherence to the scheme involves two steps: the first concerns the drafting of Product Category Rules-RCP (technical documents containing methodological indications for calculating environmental footprint of a given product category) and the second involves actual adherence to the scheme. Companies conclude the process by receiving a certification by a third party so that they could communicate final results and ensure maximum transparency of the entire process. The “Made Green in Italy” scheme attributes the logo to be attached to products with high environmental qualification and a detailed declaration available through a QR code that provides clear, uniform, complete and transparent information to consumers. With regard to forthcoming measures, calls for CPRs will be launched periodically as well as calls to support companies wishing to join the MGI scheme. The Manual for the Use of the MGI Logo according to the Made Green in Italy Regulation and 12 new CPRs have been published in June 2021 for the following sectors/products: Agri-Food Sector: Grana Padano, Provolone Tutela Valpadana, Vinegar, Dry pasta, Fresh pork meat, Fresh beef meat. Industrial sector: Laundry-Industrial laundry services, Carded wool-textile, Wooden packaging manufacture, Steel, Geotextiles and related products, Raw tobacco. Another relevant policy is the Environmental Footprint Assessment Programme, launched by the Ministry for Ecological Transition in 2010 to measure and improve environmental performance of private and public sectors. It provides for products (goods and services) and organizational certification, and in its experimental phase, among environmental indicators, it has favoured the analysis of the carbon footprint. Indeed it is an environmental driver, closely linked to climate change, and has an added value for the competitiveness of Italian businesses on international markets. Companies that join the programme, after signing a Voluntary Agreement with the Ministry for Ecological Transition, receive a certification by a third party in order to be able to communicate final results in accordance with the communication guidelines of the Programme and guarantee maximum transparency of the whole process. The programme remains operational until the full implementation of the scheme for all production sectors.
In relation to environmental sustainability in the Public Administration, a first step in this direction was the “Guide for the integration of social aspects in public procurement”, adopted by the aforementioned Ministry by Ministerial Decree of June 6, 2012, as part of the National Action Plan on Green Public Procurement (PANGPP), i.e. through socially responsible public procurement, public authorities can not only promote employment opportunities, decent work and social inclusion, but also aim for more extensive compliance with social standards. The Guide aims to provide operational guidance on how to take social aspects into account in the definition of public tenders relating to supply, service and works contracts. It considers experiences of integrating social criteria in public procurement developed by different EU countries. The implementation of Green Public Procurement has also the purpose to develop circular supply chains, through the adoption of Minimum Environmental Criteria (CAM) for an increasing number of production sectors. CAM are currently in place for 18 categories of supplies and procurements. CAMs relating to the following areas are currently being defined or reviewed: – Supply of new interior furniture, rental service for interior furniture, repair service for furniture in use, end-of-life management service for used furniture (review) – Design and construction services for building interventions (review) – Beverage and food sales services (in-house bars and vending machines) (new) – Design and works services for new road construction and maintenance (new) – Supply of road transport vehicles (review) – Public transport service (new) – Street furniture (review) – PC and server (review) – Cultural events and movie-tv productions (new). CAM concerning the following areas, to be adopted in 2022 are: – Energy services for buildings (review); – Shoes (review).
In addition, Legislative Decree No. 50 of 19 April 2016 in transposing EU Directives 23, 24 and 25/2014, outlines a regulatory framework for social and environmental responsibility in the management of public procurement, including the possibility of introducing criteria relating also to human rights within the contract life cycle (definition of the subject of the contract, criteria for selection of candidates, technical specifications, award criteria and contract performance clauses). The EU Commission has recently published a second edition of the guide for socially sustainable procurement (“Buying Social – A guide to taking account of social considerations in public procurement” – Second edition (2021/C 237/01)), referred to in the previous NAP BHR. It has provided indications to identify a set of clauses that will be included by ANAC in the Standard Notice for e-procurement. The inclusion of such clauses in the Standard Notice for contracts carried out through eprocurement platforms is a fundamental measure for their adoption by national contracting stations. The obligation to adopt electronic tools for tender procedures is in force since 2018. Moreover a strategic line to improve public procurement involves the professionalization of operators and the progressive centralization of purchases, thus facilitating the proper inclusion of social and ecological elements in procurement since the planning stage. To this scope a full life-cycle monitoring through the National Database of Public Contracts, managed by ANAC, will be facilitated by the adoption of the new models covered by Regulation (EU) 1780 of 2019, which will be fully operational in October 2023. In collaboration with other administrations concerned for adoption of models and adaptation to national requirements, ANAC will give right emphasis identification processes over social and environmental sustainability clauses in calls for tenders and compliance with them throughout the life cycle of the contract: this approach has already been used at European level to introduce new standard f for data collection and publication on contracts in order to monitor the achievement of the objectives set out in Directive (EU) 2019/1161 of 20 June 2019, on the promotion of clean and energy-efficient road transport vehicles.
Climate change: “carbon neutrality” / “energy neutrality”
As per the linkage between human rights and climate change, Italy deploys its action within a framework established and agreed at international and European level. In this context milestones are the Kyoto Protocol (1997), the Doha Amendment (2012) and the Paris Agreement (2015). In particular, the latter set the long-term goal to contain increase in global average temperature well below 2° Celtius and pursue efforts to limit increase to 1.5°C compared to pre-industrial levels. In this perspective, the Parties that signed the agreement communicated their “Nationally Determined Contribution” (NDC) with the obligation to pursue measures for its implementation. As part of this international de-carbonisation process, the EU has set its own targets to be achieved by 2020, 2030 and 2050. For 2020, the EU has adopted the so-called “ClimateEnergy Package 2020”, a set of legislative measures aimed at implementing the following objectives: reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 20% compared to 1990 levels; reduction of energy consumption by 20% compared to the trend value (business as usual); production of energy from renewable sources equal to 20% of final energy consumption. In the second step of this process, the EU Council first set a 2030 target of a 40% reduction at European level compared to 1990, while raising the bar for efficiency to 32.5% and for renewables sources to 32%. However, following up on the Commission’s Communication on the European Green Deal of December 2019, the EU further changed the target for net domestic reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from -40% to -55% by- 2030 compared to 1990 levels. Finally, looking at the longer term, again following the Communication on the Green Deal, in pursuit of the aims of the Paris Agreement, it has committed to zero “net” greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 to give effect to the ambitious target as first continent with zero emissions. With regard to Italy and taking into consideration the goals set for 2030, the adequacy of the effort to be put in place for de-carbonisation can only be assessed starting within the framework of the current Integrated National Energy and Climate Plan. This is a planning tool provided for by Regulation (EU) 2018/1999 on the EU Energy Governance adopted after assessment by all stakeholders, both institutional and private, and which represents the country’s commitment and contribution for the implementation of the so-called “Climate and Energy Package”. Starting from the measures currently in force, the additional policies necessary to achieve the ‘medium-term’ targets are outlined. An important accelerating factor for the strengthening and implementation of the measures identified in the PNIEC is the new National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR), which gives the ecological transition a driving role in the relaunch of the country’s system. It assigns an important share of resources also for investments in sustainable mobility, renewable sources and energy efficiency, with a proper reference in mission n. 2 of the PNRR – “Green revolution and ecological transition”. Further expanding the horizon to 2050, Italy has outlined its engagement path towards “climate neutrality” with a National Long-Term Strategy (LTS), also provided for in the aforementioned EU Energy Governance Regulation (EU) 2018/1999 (https://www.minambiente.it/sites/default/files/lts January 2021.pdf). The Strategy incorporates virtuous energy-environmental trends triggered by the PNIEC from now until 2030 and identifies key levers to bring the Country to “zero net emissions.” It consists mainly of energy savings, mix of energy sources and new technologies to be developed in the short to medium term. Being the PNIEC integrated in the PNRR, the transition from traditional fuels to renewable sources should be accelerated abandoning coal in favour of an increasingly renewablebased electricity mix with a residual and complementary rate of natural gas (and an increasing contribution of renewable gases: biomethane, hydrogen and synthetic methane). In the long-term perspective to 2050, natural gas can be limited to marginal industrial uses (with CO2 capture), while considering their impact in terms of supply for the entire national energy system. In order to carry out strategies and projects drawn up, corrective measures are also being studied to be applied, especially in relation to the PNRR, with the aim of solving conflicts and disputes in advance and, consequently, speeding up administrative action. This will be possible by giving as much space as possible to public consultations, in accordance with principles of impartiality, inclusion, transparency, timeliness and feedback on decisional processes.
To be healthy and resilient, a society must give nature the space it needs. The protection of biodiversity, “environmental debt” being towards future generations, also has unavoidable economic purposes which are useful to make the link between environment – human rights – business more evident and indissoluble. At the Environment G20 in Naples in 2021, our country prioritised a number of issues with direct implications for biodiversity and nature protection, ecosystem restoration and natural capital. Genes, species and ecosystem services are essential inputs for business and biodiversity conservation can bring direct economic benefits to many economic sectors: conservation of marine stocks could increase the annual profits of seafood industry while investments in natural capital, for example in restoring carbon-rich habitats and climate-friendly agriculture, are considered among the top five most important policies for fiscal consolidation as they offer high economic multipliers as well as positive climate impacts. In this perspective, the Ministry for Ecological Transition is committed to the definition of the National Biodiversity Strategy 2030, to be in line with the objectives already identified at EU level in the framework of the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030 (including: ensuring that at least 30% of species and habitats whose current conservation status is unsatisfactory become so or show a clear positive trend; legally protecting at least 30% of the EU lands and 30% of EU seas, strictly protecting 10% of EU land and 10% of EU seas) and in related implementing measures and programmes. In coordination with the EU and its Member States, the Ministry is overseeing the negotiation of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework of the Convention on Biological Diversity to be decided in May 2022 in Kunming, China. The Global Framework aims to encourage the use of nature-based solutions and promote ecosystem restoration, but also to ensure, through the adoption of whole-of-government and whole-of-society approaches, that such comprehensive biodiversity action is effectively implemented and benefits people and communities. Moreover, with Italy’s contribution of almost USD 4 million, in 2021 UNESCO launched the “International Environmental Experts Network – UNESCO Network for Earth” Programme: it is the first global network of qualified environmental experts in favour of parks and territories of the highest natural value recognised by UNESCO on every continent: World Natural Heritage sites, Biosphere Reserves, Geoparks, Intangible Heritage communities. In the two-year period 2022-2023 the implementation phase of the UNESCO Network will continue, followed by Italy and launched at the G20 to the attention of major economies of the planet: it offers a capacity-building tool to support local communities and young people with specialized support in the areas of conservation and protection of ecosystems and biodiversity, prevention, mitigation and adaptation to climate change, training, education and environmental dissemination.” (pp. 34-40)
“In order to make the sharing of data and information understandable and systematic, Consip published its second Sustainability Report, with the aim of describing its mandate and contribution to the national public procurement system. In order to ensure a clear and complete accounting of its actions, the Report was drafted according to GRI standards. It describes Consip’s operations and performance in terms of environmental, economic and social sustainability, noting how this approach has contributed to the achievement of some SDGs.” (p. 49)
Internationalization of Companies
“Attention to human resources and compliance with local regulations on worker safety are relevant and qualifying elements in the evaluation of Profit Initiatives in order to ensure respect for workers’ rights, environmental and health standards and human rights. In the Call for Proposals, it is explicitly provided that the implementation of the interventions must take place in compliance with the principles and aims of Law No. 125/2014, international standards on human rights, decent work, social responsibility and environmental protection, as well as the rules on public contracts and, in particular, the Public Contracts Code.” (p. 55)
ANNEX 1 – Accountability Grid and Assessment Tools for the Implementation of the NAP
“2. Update the implementation assessment information of Legislative Decree No. 231/2001 in order to evaluate its extension in terms of objectives and application of the administrative liability of legal persons, and to pursue the following objectives in this area:
– the promotion of a culture of sustainability in its dimensions (economic-social-environmental), through the careful and accompanied reuse of the confiscated business assets” (p. 61)
“17. With regard to key actions to be implemented in the context of environmental policies, the following ones are provided: – encourage the reduction of single-use plastic consumption towards systems based on the use of reusable products; – encourage repair, sharing and exchange of used goods; – encourage the development, emergence and consolidation of business models based on the ‘Product as a Service’ (Paas) model, so as to promote the design, manufacture and use of products that are resource-efficient, durable, decomposable, repairable, reusable and upgradeable, as well as the use of materials obtained from waste; – reduce waste, including through the recovery for social purposes of products (food and non-food) in surplus on the market or with characteristics unsuitable to be placed on the market; – strengthen the role of prevention and reuse within extended producer responsibility schemes, in particular by establishing a regulatory framework that allows a share of resources to be used to support waste reduction initiatives and to encourage prevention or production decrease; – promote cultural transformation by training, communicating and raising awareness on change needed and tools available.” (p. 63)
“18. In collaboration with other Ministries composing the Interministerial Committee for the Ecological Transition (CITE) and, in particular, with the Ministry of the Economy and Finance and with the DIPE/CIPESS (for SACE guarantees), to the following measures will be promoted: ● the alignment of sustainability indicators within the “Voluntary environmental certification system for sustainable finance” (Art. 1, paragraphs 743, 744 and 745, of Law No. 178/2020) in relation to Regulation (EU) 2020/852; ● the assessment of criteria for the issue of guarantees by SACE S.p.a. in favour of green investments and provision of a quota of resources to be allocated to support projects to be launched within Environmental Economic Zones (ZEA) with an update commitment yearly due on 28 February.” (p. 63)
“19. Among the measures identified in the 2021 programme and in the 2020-2022 multi-year programme, to be adopted to remove obstacles to full effectiveness of environmental certification and management systems within the activities of the Sections of the competent Committee, more directly the Ecolabel Section, engaged in the process started at European level on the issue of “sustainable finance” (COM 2018/97 “Action Plan to finance sustainable growth”), with the participation of central Administrations (Ministry of Economy and Finance, Ministry of Economic Development, Ministry of Health and ISPRA), the following measures are promoted: – allocation of resources for the implementation of interventions to develop EU Ecolabel and EMAS schemes; – realization of information events, addressed to potential users and stakeholders (companies, consumer associations, public administration, etc.); – realization of meetings with local actors in order to make users aware of added value of certifications; – involvement of public administration, both at local and central level, in order to identify specific training, information and regulatory tools to encourage the dissemination of EU Ecolabel and EMAS systems; – commitment, through collaboration with competent ministries, to enhance the use of the two certification systems within the initiatives over Circular Economy and the New Green Deal.” (p. 64)
“20. In line with the EU Commission’s forthcoming guidelines on biodiversity, the following measures are to be taken: ● coverage over seabed and possible action on how to reconcile biodiversity targets in marine environments, including regulating bycatches of endangered species to be properly recovered; ● intensified collection of by-catch data on all sensitive species; ● fisheries management measures for all marine protected areas in accordance with clearly defined conservation objectives using the best available scientific advice; ● on land consumption, urban regeneration and redevelopment of heritage, promote an efficient use of buildings for significantly reduced emissions, as well as enhanced protection of green areas: – urban forestry; -digitalization of parks; – implementation of an advanced and integrated system for monitoring and preventing hydrogeological instability; ● on water, as envisaged by the PNRR, guarantee of sustainable management of water resources: this goal should be pursued through the development of primary water infrastructures, interventions for distribution networks and irrigation, sewage and purification systems.” (p. 64)
“46. Strengthen support, at international and European level, for the promotion and inclusion of social and environmental sustainability clauses in international and trade and investment treaties.” (p. 68)