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Ferigo: "A sustainable strategy to create value"

News - 26/11/2020
In an interview with SustainEconomy.24, the CEO talks about the three-year Sustainability Plan and our commitment to the 5G "revolution": “we need an Objective Law and a system alliance, in a country that is still insufficiently equipped.”

A strategic plan to generate long-term value that includes 5G, “a key factor to enable more sustainable cities”. In an interview with Alessandra Capozzi published on SustainEconomy.24 – a report from Il Sole 24 Ore Radiocor and Luiss Business School – our CEO Giovanni Ferigo talked about the three-year Sustainability Plan and the upcoming debut of INWIT’s first Report Integrated Report. A concrete commitment to the development of the country, which sees INWIT “ready to do its part.”

What does it mean, for a company like INWIT, to contribute to a more sustainable future?

For INWIT, sustainability is an integral part of corporate strategy, with the goal of generating long-term value and contributing to the growth, improvement and social and economic development of the communities where we work. At INWIT, we firmly believe that outlining a plan to pursue the sustainable development of our society and our planet must include the creation of better internal conditions, which provide the foundations for a culture of sustainability, allowing for the creation of long-term value. 2020 was a year of development for projects and activities leading to processes typical of a modern and sustainable business approach. A Sustainability Plan for 2021-2023 has been outlined, a stakeholder engagement process has been started, and activities have begun that will lead to the publication of INWIT’s first Integrated Report, covering the year 2020 and drafted based on international criteria for Integrated Reporting.

"We firmly believe that outlining a plan to pursue the sustainable development of our society and our planet must include the creation of better internal conditions, which provide the foundations for a culture of Sustainability".

How did the the three-year Sustainability Plan for 2021-2023 come about, and what does it include?

The Sustainability Plan 2021-2023 was developed starting from the UN’s 2030 Agenda, and is based on 5 focus areas: Governance, People, Environment, Innovation, and Community. In the Governance area, the Sustainability Plan’s targets have been included in our managers’ MBO and LTI systems. We’ve begun a process to involve our stakeholders, and we are committed to developing a Stakeholder Engagement policy to make this dialogue stronger and more consistent. The People area starts from the premise that our people are central in this journey toward a sustainable business model and are the primary resource for the spread of a culture of sustainability inside and outside the company. In the Plan’s Environment area, we worked hard to lay out a climate strategy that will lead us to Carbon Neutrality by 2025 through a CO2 quantification process, a CO2 reduction process via energy efficiency, production and purchasing from renewable sources and, finally, offsetting remaining CO2 emissions, i.e. unavoidable emissions, through the purchase of carbon credits. In the Innovation area, you can find our activities to support operators in the digitalization of the country. We expect to increase and strengthen micro-coverage using Small Cells and DAS (Distributed Antenna Systems), also to lower environmental impact and to implement a ‘Tower upgrade' by creating fiber connections and developing and installing sensor platforms from an Internet of Things perspective. Finally, in the Community area, we look at the context where we work: our goal is to promote and develop collaboration projects to increase coverage for smaller towns, rural areas and sites with high social and cultural value. On one hand, we want to help overcome the geographic digital divide and, on the other, we want to foster greater digital inclusivity. In this trend, the installation of our DAS antenna in more than 15 hospital structures, museums and universities is significant. It’s a complex and challenging program, with specific actions and goals, which INWIT firmly believes in.

A program that includes 5G?

The digitalization of this country is an opportunity for development that fully integrates all three aspects of sustainability: economic, social and environmental. 5G will be one of the enabling technologies for the promotion of a more sustainable society, boosting innovation and inclusion, reducing inequalities, and facilitating the adoption of increasingly circular production models. 5G is a key factor in enabling more sustainable cities, providing the customized connectivity needed for smart mobility and smarter public services and buildings, which will play a significant role in pushing toward the digital transition and going green. But this "revolution" will only be possible if there is a widespread ultrafast mobile network, not only outdoors with telecommunications towers but – thanks to DAS and small-cells, which allow us to cover specific areas with mobile signal – also inside buildings, stations, hospitals, airports, museums, universities, shopping centers and gathering places.

"5G will be one of the enabling technologies for the promotion of a more sustainable society, boosting innovation, inclusion, reduced inequality, the adoption of increasingly circular production models and a key factor to enable more sustainable cities, providing the customized connectivity needed for smart mobility and for smarter public services and buildings, which will play a significant role in pushing toward the digital transition and going green. But this "revolution" will be possible only if there is widespread ultrafast mobile network coverage".

The Covid-19 pandemic has made telecommunications increasingly essential: remote working, distance learning, use of digital platforms. What is the situation now, and what is needed to improve in the future?

The second wave of Covid-19 has forced many people, as in previous months, to carry out their daily activities at a distance. Remote working and distance learning are already inevitably causing an exponential increase in data traffic, which is not always supported by widespread fast connection in the same way in all areas of the country. As the crisis pushes us towards digital, evidence is growing that the country is not sufficiently equipped to lead us all toward this future. This awareness represents a valuable opportunity to direct the choices that will guide recovery and fill the structural gaps that Italy still suffers from, compared to its main European and international partners. It is good news that the Government intends to include the implementation of 5G networks in its National Plan for Recovery and Resilience, as one of the priorities to focus Next Generation EU investments on. At the same time, it appears increasingly important to implement an "Objective Law for 5G". With a "System Alliance" between Institutions, Businesses, Associations of City Governments and others, we can remove the obstacles and lay the foundations for the development and growth of the country, including with 5G. INWIT is ready to do its part.