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What is the circular economy?

It is the new paradigm for economic development where feedstock and natural resources do not conclude their useful life after their initial use but “live” longer thanks to recycling, reuse and a longer product duration (as a result also of more intelligent product design, to make repairs possible) and thanks to sharing, facilitated by the new communications technologies that enable temporary rather than permanent possession of items. The current model of development is in fact rather too often linear (extraction of resources - production - use - disposal) which leads to a continuous loss of natural resources, and consequently of economic value, which is not compatible with lasting growth at global level.

The transition towards a circular economy allows for the environmental, and consequently the social and economic, sustainability of the planet and it is a necessary objective for our future included in the UN 2030 Agenda. This is well represented also by the Ellen Mac Arthur Foundation which has been researching the best way to deal with this transition at systemic level since 2010.

Hera’s commitment

The circular economy is one of the areas in which Hera creates “shared value”, that is where value is generated for the organisation, saving natural resources (and thus costs), providing solutions for the most urgent priorities and challenges for the sustainable development of the planet. The contribution of Hera to this transition - within the territory served - is clear from the group's 2016 Sustainability Report as it is markedly ahead with respect to the 3 aims set by the European Union in 2015 regarding the circular economy: a reduction of landfilling, an increase in the overall recycling rate and in the rate of recycling of packaging. 

Hera's contribution to the transition towards a more circular economy regards both the technical cycle (non-renewable materials) and the biological cycle (renewable resources). 

Hera's commitment to the technical cycle:

  • recycling through an increase in separate waste collection in the territory served, with the addition of plastic recycling thanks to the acquisition of Aliplast;
  • reuse, thanks to numerous initiatives aimed at the reduction of waste with significant social benefits (including “Scart”, “Change the Ending”, “Ciboamico” and “Farmacoamico”).

Hera's commitment to the biological cycle:

  • production of renewable energy and high-quality compost from separate organic waste collection through anaerobic bio-digestion plants and the construction of a biorefinery which will produce bio-methane, also for automotive use, from the end of 2018.
  • the set up of experimental projects for the production of renewable energy from prunings and wastewater treatment sludge.

Ellen MacArthur Foundation's Circular Economy model
Sustainability in Hera Group
Sustainability in Hera Group
Shared Value
Risultati economici 2016 - Il commento del Presidente del Gruppo Hera
Corporate Film
Corporate film.