Comment: Expo a golden opportunity

MILAN - Expo Milano 2015 will be the first universal green economy fair.

 A single event will give Italian and international firms focused on green investments the opportunity to be exposed to new ideas and alliances while showing their best practices to a global community, during and after the event.

 Mobilizing the attention of a massive audience, this Expo aims to be a global best practice, in terms of its sustainable design and green procurement to be followed in the next “Great Events”.

 Milan Expo 2015 is also a unique place for setting up a new era of sustainable and green growth policy that starts in Europe and directs to the UAE (through the Dubai Expo 2020) and the USA (through the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) reshaping the entire global economy.

 At Rio +20, in June 2012, Heads of State and Government renewed their commitment to ensuring the promotion of an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable future for our planet and for present and future generations.

 Among other actions, they recognized the importance of promoting cleaner production and products and boosting green growth.

 “Expo Milano 2015 is a non-commercial Universal Exposition with some very unique and innovative features. Not only is it an exhibition but also a process, one of active participation among a large number of players around the theme of Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life. It is sustainable, technological, thematic and focused on its visitors. Open from May 1 to October 31, 2015, the Expo will host over 130 participants. Running for 184 days, this giant exhibition site, covering one million square meters, is expected to welcome over 20 million visitors” (Official website)

 Expo Milano 2015 is a golden opportunity for Italy and Europe to show how this can be done, by implementing workable sustainable solutions throughout the lifecycle of the event.

 To this aim, Expo Milano 2015 wants to set the standard in:

-        Sustainable design, construction, dismantling and reuse

 Today, the building sector accounts for 30 to 40 percent of the world’s energy consumption and about 30 percent of current world CO2 emissions. The Sustainable Solutions for the design, construction, dismantling and reuse guidelines provide suggestions and references on how to improve the performance of temporary buildings and exhibition spaces.

-        Green Procurement

 Expo Milano has introduced non-mandatory Green Procurement Guidelines to provide suggestions and recommendations on how to easily include appropriate criteria to reduce environmental footprint of products and services in their life-cycle. Green Procurement is also a major driver for innovation, providing industry with real incentives for developing green products and services and stimulating the markets towards more sustainable solutions.

 Expo Milano 2015 has also a tremendous potential impact onto a political and economic perspective as a unique opportunity for Europe to take (for the second time, after having led the global agenda for Climate Policy with its “20-20-20”) the leadership of a new era of Sustainable Growth and Green Investments.

 For Italy it is also the opportunity to restart as a country and community after a decade of economic and cultural crisis that has partially destroyed a tradition of wellness and high standard of living. The  Expo can give the country a fresh and modern image of a visionary and environmental friendly place that aims to return as a guide for the old continent and the world towards a new era of green growth, with its unique creativity that brought tons of inventions and innovative products and technologies for the past centuries.

 According to a recent study on the leading export industries in various countries, “engineering products” sector results the first contributor to Italian export. This says that Italy is still a top global exporter of high value – engineering services and products to the developed and developing countries, helping world economies and societies growth and modernization. A fact in clear contrast with an (Italian) internal economy that is living a long and severe decline.

 Milan Expo could give a strong boost to a sustainable production and consumption path that is already emerging as data from GreenItaly 2013 report on italian green investments shows.

 The sample is made by 328 thousand firms (one out of five) that, from 2008 on, invested on Green Economy.

 Data says that, despite of a crisis that still persists, Italian green industry is growing and that the exportations are increasing especially thanks to innovation.

 The main consequence of green investments are increase in exportations, innovation in the productive system and turnover increase. In order to be competitive Italian firms must persist on their tradition in terms of product, but also integrate it with sustainability and quality in terms of production. Green Economy is the key for Italian industry’s recover.


To summarize:

-         Expo Milano 2015 could strongly influence the european and global political agenda by putting Environment and Sustainability at the centre of a new “green era”.

 The main goal could be with the EU – USA Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership that could be strongly innovated and enhanced with new “sustainable” conditions.

-        In the same time, Expo Milano 2015 has the strong responsibility to give a successful example, in terms of organization and vision, to its successor Expo Dubai 2020 that will be crucial for a radical change of UAE economies and societies.

 Milan and Dubai have to work together from now for the leadership of a new era of global “green” growth.

This article first appeared in Innovatori Europei.