May 16, 2023

Country overshoot day

Once again this year, according to Global Footprint Network calculations, Italy's Overshoot Day came in May, on the 15th to be precise. On 5 June, on the occasion of World Environment Day, the global Overshoot Day will also be announced, which last year fell on 28 July.

Overshoot day refers to the day on which the renewable resources that the Earth is able to regenerate within a calendar year are exhausted. If all of humanity consumed as we Italians do, we would therefore need about 2.7 planets like the Earth every year. Many important countries such as Canada, the USA, Saudi Arabia, Germany, Spain, but also Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden, and France have unexpectedly arrived at worse results than ours. It seems important to us to ask ourselves what can be done to improve this situation.

As is often the case, in major processes of change it is possible to intervene on several levels: on a political level by changing laws, with managerial decisions by changing the way companies operate, on a social and personal level by changing personal behaviour. Speaking specifically about what companies can do, over the years we have noted a repertoire of 6 approaches to introducing sustainability in the company:
1) Communicating without doing anything (with the risk of Green Washing);
2) Asking one's employees to adopt virtuous behaviour;
3) Changing 'non-core' processes and products;
4) Change 'core' processes and products;
5) Incorporate sustainability principles into your business model;
6) Incorporate the principle of sustainability into their values and behavioural models.

Unfortunately, the first case is still very common: you start by communicating some generic commitment and the project stops. The second case includes, for example, Car Sharing and Smart Mobility incentive plans, but the company does not commit to changes that require some internal change. From the third case onwards the company engages in internal (organisational and business) changes with all the complexities involved. Every company needs to think of its own path that makes economic, social andm environmental sustainability compatible. In our experience, there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

We at Regenesi and Regenstech, with the companies we support, always propose a step-by-step approach, which seeks to combine the concreteness of the expected outputs with the aspiration to improve the company's overall performance. After all, every long journey always begins with a first step.