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Legal obligations regarding Sustainability: an imperative for companies

Growing awareness about the environmental impact of human activities has led to a series of regulations requiring companies to adopt sustainable practices. These laws, developed nationally and internationally, aim to promote the environmental, social and economic responsibility of businesses. To remain competitive and compliant, companies must be well informed about legal obligations regarding sustainability.

International regulations

At an international level, several conventions and agreements establish standards for corporate sustainability:

  • Paris Agreement (2015): this international agreement aims to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Companies must contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions through measures such as energy efficiency, the use of renewable energy and waste reduction.
  • 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: adopted by the UN in 2015, this agenda includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that address global issues such as poverty, inequality and climate change. Companies are called to integrate these objectives into their operational strategies and report the progress made.

European regulations

In Europe, sustainability regulations are particularly stringent:

  • European Green Deal: launched in 2019, the European Green Deal aims to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. Companies must comply with a series of regulations regarding the circular economy, biodiversity and emissions reduction of carbon.
  • Non-Financial Reporting Directive (2014/95/EU): this directive obliges large companies to provide information on environmental, social and governance (ESG) sustainability. Companies must publish data on their environmental policies, the social impact of their activities and corporate management practices.
  • EU Taxonomy Regulation (2020/852): this regulation establishes a classification system for sustainable economic activities, helping investors to identify businesses that contribute to the EU’s environmental objectives. Companies must demonstrate that their activities comply with established sustainability criteria.

Italian regulations

Italy has also implemented specific regulations to promote sustainability:

  • Legislative Decree 254/2016: this decree transposes the European directive on non-financial reporting, requiring large Italian companies to publish information on environmental, social and governance policies.
  • National Integrated Plan for Energy and Climate (PNIEC): the PNIEC establishes national objectives for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy. Companies must align with these goals by adopting sustainable practices.
  • Budget Law 2021: this law includes various incentives for companies that invest in green technologies, renewable energy and circular economy projects.

Compliance with sustainability regulations is not only a legal obligation, but also represents an opportunity for companies to improve their reputation, reduce operating costs and attract investment. Adopting sustainable practices is essential to building a greener and more prosperous future for all. Companies must stay up-to-date on regulatory requirements and integrate sustainability into their operational strategies to ensure long-term success.

Read also: Beyond Manufacturing: the Advent of Industry 5.0
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