Environmental and social sustainability, economic recovery, Agenda 2030: we talked about this and much more in an exclusive interview with Simone Gamberini who, from 2 January 2020, took on the role of general manager of Coopfond, the mutual fund of Legacoop, company that manages the mutual fund for cooperative promotion, fed by 3% of the profits of all the cooperatives associated with Legacoop. In 2019, the fund committed approximately 51 million euros in operations aimed at safeguarding cooperative enterprises and jobs, workers buyouts, cooperative development, logistics support and asset consolidation.
Dr. Gamberini, how important is sustainability for economic recovery?
Sustainability is the horizon within which the recovery must take place, a challenge that already today – in the midst of the economic emergency generated by the health one – we must set in order to win it together. It is a lesson that, in words, everyone has understood: development must be sustainable and inclusive or it will end up devouring itself. The pandemic has brought attention to the environment and the community back to the center, painfully reminded us that every growth trajectory must take place in compliance with both. Now we have to quickly move from awareness to choices, from words to deeds.
Particular attention is paid to the objectives of the 2030 Agenda. How do you promote sustainable development?
In recent years, Coopfond has been called above all to support the cooperative system struggling with the economic crisis. Alongside this commitment, which we will continue, we now have another challenge: accompanying cooperatives along a process of change that will lead them to play a leading role precisely in achieving the sustainable development goals identified by the United Nations 2030 Agenda. Our goal is to use the lever of finance to redefine the value proposition of the cooperative system and make it an engine of the transition to a more sustainable and inclusive economy. We took a first decisive step in this direction with the Coop 2030 call which made € 600,000 available for projects to reposition cooperatives in the direction of sustainability. We have selected the projects presented and with the 10 winners we will start the path in these days.
Italian companies pay attention to the issues of environmental and social sustainability?
Our country in this challenge has what it takes to play a leading role. In the circular economy we are far above the European average. A third of companies have made investments that have to do with the environment and these companies are the ones that innovate the most, export more and hire more. We are, again, first in Europe as a percentage of recycling of waste produced. In short: there is certainly attention, even if it is still not enough. We believe that incentive measures accessible to all companies of all types, levels and sizes are necessary for the conversion of production processes. All this, with a careful and watchful eye on that digital transition and technological development in the service of sustainability – therefore, not ends in themselves or focused on returns, but technological applications that facilitate the rapid adoption of sustainability practices by companies. of any size.
Coopfond is the mutual fund of Legacoop, the association that brings together over 10 thousand Italian cooperatives. What is your underlying goal?
We operate using only funds from cooperatives and we invest them to support the creation of new cooperatives and the development of existing ones. In our daily choices we try, as I said, to favor a repositioning of the cooperative movement in the Italian socio-economic system: we believe, in fact, that the values that have supported our movement for over 150 years are today capable of favoring an evolution towards that sustainable and inclusive economy, which focuses on work and the community and not on the profit of a few, which our country needs today more than ever.