New opportunities for the supply chain but there is a skills shortage

4 min read

The protection of biodiversity is no longer just an environmental issue, but also has a very important impact on the global economy, which is increasingly directly linked to the resilience of ecosystems. However, we need to create culture among companies: although almost nine out of ten managers are aware that biodiversity is important for the planet, its protection is not among the company’s priorities. This is what emerges from the latest report by the Capgemini Research Institute Preserving the fabric of life: Why biodiversity loss is as urgent as climate change. 70% of Italian managers believe that it is much more urgent to address climate change than biodiversity. «Also a consequence of the fact that today biodiversity is difficult to measure», explains Gianluca Vastola, Technology & Innovation Head Capgemini Engineering in Italy, underlining the urgency of identifying objectives connected between biodiversity and carbon emissions and the implementation of environmental impact, establishing a shared global measurement parameter to address the lack of common data and standards. The study also highlights how only 16% of Italian organizations already have an assessment of the impact on biodiversity of their supply chain. A hot topic, considering that many sectors have a dependence on natural elements with consequences on their supply chain. “Organizations should increase cooperation with partners along their supply chain,” says Vastola.

Among the best international practices in this sense, the Pirelli Group stands out, as recognized by the main rating agencies and by its top positioning in the stock market indices of sustainable companies. Companies, explains Eleonora Pessina, Group Sustainability Officer of Pirelli, «are called to do their part to reduce as much as possible their direct impacts on air, soil and oceans, and indirect ones, i.e. those connected to the supply chain. For years, Pirelli has been committed to engaging its suppliers, for example in the natural rubber sector, so that production in the countries of origin takes place in a traced manner, respecting biodiversity and with adequate agricultural techniques. Opportunities also arise, as for us was the production of the first tire in the world made by Pirelli with FSC certified natural rubber and rayon.”

The issue, however, is not only awareness, but also the lack of regulatory clarity relating to the definition of objectives, which remains an objective obstacle for companies, as confirmed by 46% of Italian managers interviewed by Capgemini. Added to this is the bigger problem of “skill mismatch”, i.e. the gap between the skills required and those offered by the market. In fact, the Capgemini survey confirms that 56% of Italian managers highlight a lack of qualified figures in this field. A paradoxical impasse, if you consider that, according to the EU Commission, the protection of biodiversity would allow the creation of up to 500 thousand new jobs in the 27 countries.

«There are many figures who are becoming increasingly central: from biodiversity specialists, to experts in the management and conservation of the natural environment, up to livestock, wildlife and vegetation experts, but it is not enough», specifies Vastola. In fact, transversal skills are also necessary and training paths have not yet been adapted. «In addition to a degree in natural or forestry sciences and biology, you need skills in assessing the impact on biodiversity, monitoring and management plans», specifies Vastola. The skills necessary to manage biodiversity in the company, adds Pessina, «are both managerial and technical, with a broader management model than the traditional environmental one. It is necessary to analyze the impacts of the entire value chain and the entire life cycle of the product, to minimize the loss of biodiversity in ecosystems and contribute to their regeneration through long-term action plans. In Pirelli the function responsible for biodiversity makes use of collaboration with numerous departments, such as R&D, HSE, Manufacturing and Purchasing”.

In fact, the only truly successful approach is to work in synergy, bringing together different skills. All in favor of a global vision of biodiversity, not only in terms of the environment but also of the supply chain, of investments and economic return, and of management of a company’s material and immaterial resources.

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