ESG, sustainable startups are on the rise in Italy

82% have fewer than ten employees, but are already able to attract investment and operate both nationally (54%) and internationally (40%)

Socially responsible investment is gaining more and more space in financial portfolios, and the areas of interest are the environment, social responsibility and corporate governance, known as eg. Over the past three years, most European investment has been in ESG-labeled funds, which currently exceed $4 trillion, accounting for more than a third of total investment.

A study titled “Sustainability waves | Esg italian startup“, published by Cariplo Factory with the patronage of the European Commission and the support of InnovUp, Aifi, She tech, Italian tech alliance, La carica delle 101 and Aut studio, outlined an initial profile of Italian startups active in this sector. The study involved 115 small companies, of which 82% have fewer than ten employees, but which are already able to attract investments and operate both nationally (54%) and internationally (40%). Over 50% of the startups analyzed are in the highest range of the “Investment readiness level” index, which measures the maturity of startups for raising capital.

These startups aim to make the world a better place by trying to change the paradigms of the market. Furthermore, they are characterized by a strong commitment to gender equality: 60% of them have a female majority board of directors, while 59% have at least 50% of female employees. In 28% of cases, they adopt flexible working, while 72% have implemented corporate welfare programmes.

The environment represents one of the main areas of interest for these startups: 77% of them have activated programs to protect or reduce their environmental impact, ranging from waste management to respect for biodiversity and land use. Furthermore, 55% already have technologies to reduce the environmental footprint.

In the context of sustainable startups in Italy, we have some significant examples such as Arborea which fights the climate emergency with agricultural and urban reforestation campaigns or BioTextilesspecialized in the creation of biomaterials of plant origin starting from a single biopolymer, agar-agar.

On the energy front, it stands out Levant who designed and patented a foldable photovoltaic panel, inspired by origami, to create clean energy thanks to bifacial photovoltaic cells. Rethinking urban mobility is instead the goal of Rev which develops modular, prefabricated cycle paths, built in an eco-sustainable way, repositionable without the need for excavations and road works that can be laid on any existing surface.