Clear 2030 sustainability ambitions, quantifiable targets for 2024 and work underway on five areas of sustainability: the commitments in IGD’s agenda are clear, with results that are already rewarding the immense amount of work done since 2011 (the year in which the Company undertook this path).
IGD’s sustainability planning is increasingly more structured and completely integrated with the corporate strategy and operations. The new Sustainability Plan, with targets for 2024 and ambitions for 2030, reflects the Company’s serious and tangible commitment to being increasingly more sustainable with a view to ESG factors in a post-pandemic world.
Let’s learn more about these topics by asking Francesco Soldi, IGD’s Head of Marketing and Corporate Social Responsibility, a few questions.
Today an impressive 11 agencies assign IGD ESG ratings. What comments would you like to make in this regard?
Over the years IGD has been committed to investing energy and resources in the continuous improvement of its ESG profile. Beginning in 2014, today we are at the fourth Business Plan with a Sustainability Plan that is completely integrated in the company’s strategy: when comparable, the numerous scores assigned by the ESG rating agencies, which show we are improving gradually year-on-year, confirm that we are moving in the right direction. Recently we have also been included in two prestigious sustainability rankings: the Italian one, organized by Il Sole 24 Ore, in partnership with Statista, which ranked us among the 150 domestic leaders in sustainability, and the European one organized by the Financial Times, again in partnership with Statista, which includes us among the Climate Leaders 2022, namely one of the 400 European and 19 Italian companies who have done the most to reduce their carbon footprints in the period 2015-2020, with a 21% decrease in CO2 emissions, measured based on the energy intensity for the same square meters of the real estate portfolio.
Before focusing on the new Sustainability Plan, could you tell us about the actual performance and the targets achieved with respect to the previous Plan, for 2019-2021?
We achieved around 80% of the total targets that were achievable in the period 2019-2021; this is compared with a success rate of 90% for the 2016-2018 Plan. In light of the external context, we view this as a good result. When we launched the Sustainability Plan in 2019 we could not, in fact, have foreseen the impact that the pandemic would have on two out of the three years covered by the Plan, with repercussions that inevitably affected both IGD’s investment capacity and the ability to achieve the targets defined for organized events inside our shopping centers. These are goals, however, that continue to be important to us: we have already committed to including them in the new Plan.
Sustainability provides attractive benefits, but also involves a cost. What investments did IGD make in sustainability over the past few years in order to reach its targets?
Overall, over the life of the last two plans we have invested approximately €12 million in sustainability, of which €5.8 million in the period 2019-2021. In the new Plan we would like to accelerate these projects and expect to invest an additional €13 million in the period 2022 through 2024.
Let’s start talking then about this new Plan that will take IGD toward 2024 and, with regard to a few aspects, even beyond, through the end of the current decade. Given the different elements of uncertainty, how have you proceeded?
We began with the idea that a specific plan for guiding a post-pandemic IGD should be based on the desire to allocate a good part of the investments to making the business even more sustainable. Our sustainability strategy continues, therefore, to be shaped by the materiality matrix, which was partially revisited in 2020, and to maintain the structure GREAT (Green, Responsible, Ethical, Attractive, Together). We, in fact, defined the risks and opportunities connected with a sustainable management of the business and identified 41 quantitative targets to achieve over the three-year period 2022-2024. All of the targets were incorporated within the single areas of operation. We also identified 22 ambitions which will guide us along the path to 2030, as concrete guidelines that will allow us to make our contribution to the strategies for sustainable development defined by the United Nations in the Sustainable Development Goals.
How can we get a better look at these targets?
You can find more information about these targets by visiting the Sustainability section of our corporate website https://www.gruppoigd.it/en/sustainability/
Which projects will you be more focused on at this particular point in time?
As part of the activities that we are moving forward with in order to achieve the Plan targets we are currently working on five important areas. The first has to do with the pilot project which focuses on transforming the ESP center in Ravenna into a “zero energy emissions” center. A second area we are working on involves an agreement with an important social cooperative in Bologna, La Fraternità, for the opening of a second “And circular” store in our shopping malls: in the wake of the store opened year-end 2021 at Centro Borgo and in light of the good results achieved, we have finalized an agreement for a second store at Centro Lame (once again in Bologna). This way it will be possible to develop an innovative initiative which combines environmental with social commitment by way of a circular economy project (collection of used clothing which is then put up for sale) and by providing jobs (when fully operational the project will provide jobs for 7 people, of which 3 at risk). Thirdly, we will move forward with our commitment to sustainable mobility: we are working on introducing fast chargers, based on agreements with multinational sector leaders, in 10 shopping centers (to date we have Superchargers in three shopping centers). We are also assessing the opportunities that the new laws relating to Energy Communities provide, including in light of the changes introduced in the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (Piano Nazionale di Ripresa e Resilienza), in order to select the best locations in our real estate portfolio.
The fifth area we are working on incorporates our entire environmental commitment. In the 2021 CSR Report we reported on, in addition to the direct Scope 1 and 2 emissions, the indirect Scope 3 emissions. In this way, we defined our total emissions in order to understand the steps that need to be taken to obtain the validation of at least one environmental target by the Science-Based Target Initiative (SBTi), an institution considered to be an international authority, needed to certify our contribution to fighting global warming and limit the increase in the temperature globally to 1.5° with respect to the pre-industrial level, as defined in the Paris Agreement of 2015.
The Sustainability Committee, therefore, has a full schedule…
This year the Committee’s role has been expanded. Today all of IGD’s divisions are represented in the committee. The interaction with the Board of Directors has also become more structured: we, in fact, committed to reporting every six months on the progress made with respect to the projects included in the new Plan.