Skip to main content

EVOLVE 6 - How adversity makes us stronger

We are trying to take a proactive look to the future, by closing 2020 with the publication of the sixth issue of our magazine EVOLVE on today’s very relevant topic of resilience and post Covid-19 reconstruction.  In the wake of our previous focus on digital innovation, green acceleration and the transformation of bureaucracy into an agile model, our editorial staff has collected contributions by various experts in this issue, commencing with Alessandro Blasi, special advisor to IEA Executive Director, Fatih Birol: « The impact of Covid-19 cannot be overlooked. The pandemic - Blasi said - offers a "window of opportunity" to rethink our development model in a more environmental-friendly approach.»

When it comes to planning future strategies and models, resilience is fundamental. Our initial assessments of smart working have proved decidedly positive: our Group had already been geared to this type of structure for several years, which has been the reason why there has been no drop in recent production. Gaetano Iaquaniello, NextChem Chairman and KT Innovation Strategy Vice President, explained in his editorial,  «Today more than ever, as we make our way out of the health and economic crisis of Covid-19, which has similarities to the oil shock of the 1970s due to the restrictions on mobility and the economic impact, sustainability is at the heart of any industrial restart strategy. »

The contribution of Stefano Napoletano, Global Leader of Capital Projects & Infrastructure at McKinsey, is of major importance:  «. Organizations that succeed in reinventing themselves will likely discover new opportunities for growth. An area where companies have already adjusted well is using technology to address changing work environments and to stay competitive. Our survey also shows that organizations that are successfully responding to the crisis have deployed more advanced technologies, digital products, and tech talent to speed up innovation and they expect most of these changes to outlast the pandemic. »

Coronavirus is not a black swan

This crisis could become a historic opportunity to guide the world in a sustainable direction. The pandemic has suddenly faced us with what can happen on the planet when a systemic risk becomes reality. In an interview on the topic of resilience, Pierroberto Folgiero, Maire Tecnimont and NextChem CEO, quoted  Nassim Taleb (author of the bestseller The Black Swan, presented in the December 2017 issue of EVOLVE) to explain how Covid-19 has highlighted the fragility of our system: « Apart from the deep sorrow for the victims of this virus and their families, we can draw a positive side from this event: the realization that we can live in a way unthinkably different from how we were used to. We must use the sense of surprise that millions of people have experienced in realizing that smart working actually works, if well organized, to consider the fact that many other things can be done very differently. We need to look ahead in the long term, because it will not be enough to just reduce emissions and energy consumption. We need to change social, economic and financial behaviors and values».

In his editorial, Gaetano Iaquaniello had explained that « Smart working shows us the companies of the future. And if we look at the European Green Deal, with the “zero emissions” horizon by 2050, we
cannot but think of our young people. On that date they will be in the prime of their lives, even more concerned than us about the issues surrounding the environment and sustainability: for this reason, they must be involved from the outset in the decisions to be made in order to outline the policies of tomorrow. »

New districts for the circular economy

In order to find a way to leave the Covid-19 emergency behind us and relaunch the economy, strategies in line with the United Nations' sustainable objectives are moving their focus from a linear to a circular economy. Based on a system designed to reuse materials in subsequent production cycles they will reduce waste and the procurement of pure raw materials to minimum levels.   Now, thanks to its proprietary technologies, NextChem (a company belonging to the Maire Tecnimont Group created according to the concept of energy transition, circular economy and green chemistry) is able to produce new products and raw materials from waste for the industry and contribute to reducing emissions, thanks to its new project of Circular Districts

In the words of Fabrizio Di Amato, Chairman and Founder of Maire Tecnimont:  «By implementing the mechanical recycling of plastics, and promoting the chemical one at the same time, we are able to shape an economy designed for self-regeneration. This is in essence an existential transformation». According to the report of the World Bank “What a Waste 2.0”, every year we generate about two billion tons of waste. «If we don’t take urgent action - says Di Amato - by 2050, with the increase in global population and urbanization, global waste will increase by 70%, with a production of 3.4 billion tons».

For our Sustainability section, EVOLVE interviewed Gianni Bardazzi, Group Special Initiatives and Regions Coordination Senior VP, Russia & Caspian Region VP. Maire Tecnimont has recently signed a memorandum of understanding with Cassa Depositi e Prestiti to financially support its strategic suppliers. Bardazzi said: « The initiative represents concrete support for the competitiveness of the companies in the supply chain in Italy and worldwide. Our Group in the period from 2017 to 2019, has contributed - through its national supply chain – to generating a positive and substantial socio-economic impact on the Italian territory, both in terms of added value and sustained employment. »

Stories of Resilience

As we have said, the common thread throughout this issue of EVOLVE has been the topic of resilience. This explains the extremely valuable contribution made by Professor Pietro Trabucchi (Psychologist for the Italian Olympic Cross Country Ski Team at the 2006 Games in Turin and for the National Triathlon Teams), who now dedicates himself to the National Ultramarathon Teams and follows numerous high resistance sports athletes, including canoeing.  «Today, we find ourselves in a context without structure, a situation without solid reference points. We need to train ourselves to live with uncertainty. The ability to maintain an objective for a very long period of time has been built into us for millennia. This is why we will actually be capable of dealing with the crisis, when one considers the resources that we hold within us to overcome it».

The issue closes with Stories of Resilience, accounts of lockdown from Maire Tecnimont offices/sites throughout the world. It gives the feature a historical take and tells of how our towns and cities have changed in the wake of unexpected events, such as the 1973 oil crisis, when the metropolis were left with cars at a standstill, neon lights switched off and dimmed street lights. The question we are called to answer today in terms of resilience is whether almost half a century after the oil crisis of the seventies, we are finally willing to put into practice the so-called "green turn". The only way to defend ourselves from the consequences of a blocked economy arising from systemic risks, such as Covid-19, and from the effects of climate change. 

To discover more read the new issue of Evolve