Italy – SDG

I. Guidelines and General Principles

“Italy’s second National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights (NAPBHR) aims to be an evolving and increasingly effective functional tool in light of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals, and the contextual challenges that arise at the global level.


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:

– the systematic promotion of BHR issues in all relevant international fora as an integral part of a universal vision of Human Rights, Sustainable Development, Democracy and the Rule of Law. In this context, the application of the UNGPs should therefore also be promoted in relation to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda (in particular SDGs 4, 5, 8, 10, 12, 16, 17) and the contents introduced by the UNGPs 10+ project initiated by the relevant UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights” (p. 7)

II. Premises

c) National priorities

“8. The consolidation of Italy’s role in the context of international cooperation processes for human rights-based development, with a view to achieving the sustainable development goals set out in the 2030 Agenda.” (p. 11)

IV. Italian ongoing activities and future commitments

Sustainable development

“Two key initiatives are planned to be concluded in 2021: the triennial review process of the SNSvS and the compilation of the National Action Plan on Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development (PCSD). Both these initiatives entail large participation of civil society, scientific institutions and local actors.

In this context, collaboration agreements have been signed with Regions, the Autonomous Province of Trento and 14 metropolitan cities for the definition and implementation of Regional and Provincial Strategies and Metropolitan Agendas for Sustainable Development. These are conceived as tools for coordinating the implementation of the SDSvS and the 2030 Agenda at the local level.

The monitoring of Italy’s performance of the SNSvS (People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace, Partnership and Vectors of Sustainability) will also continue. Also the National Forum for Sustainable Development is preserved, involving 190 organizations (civil society associations, but also businesses, universities, NGOs) that promote actions and policies for of sustainability. Active involvement of young people is also granted: indeed the National Youth Council, AIESEC Italy and Youth Network are part of the Forum.

In 2021 the Project “Policy coherence for sustainable development: mainstreaming the SDGs in Italian decision making process” (PCSD Project) has been launched. It is funded by the EU Commission with the aim of facilitating the inclusion of different actors in the review process of the SNSvS and in the definition of a National Action Plan for policy coherence for sustainable development.

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.

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.

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

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.” (p. 38)