The first Sustainability Report dedicated to the machine tool sector, produced by Ucimu-Sistemi per produrre, the association of Italian manufacturers of machine tools, robots and automation, in collaboration with Altis, Alta Scuola Impresa e Società of the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, was presented at a meeting open to the participation of companies, the credit world, institutions and the press.
“Sustainability is an extremely fruitful field for companies because it not only allows them to improve relations with their stakeholders but also offers the possibility to reinvent themselves and align with the European regulatory scenario, which emphasizes the increasing importance of the dissemination of good ESG practices. In the face of this Budget, it can be said that already a good number of practices in line with ESG criteria have been introduced. In the capital goods sector, Ucimu-Sistemi per produrre is the first association, in Italy and in Europe, to have produced the Sector Sustainability Report. This is an achievement that undoubtedly makes us very proud: the next step will be to formalize this process and extend it to a wider audience of companies. To this end, Ucimu will continue with the training and support activities for members that have been initiated in recent years,” said Barbara Colombo, President of Ucimu-Sistemi per produrre.
The results contained in the Report are presented here according to the three major areas in which business activity unfolds with respect to sustainability criteria: environmental, economic and social.
For the sector, the theme of circular economy (SDG 12) is an undisputed area of excellence, so much so that 62 percent of the companies surveyed have implemented good practices. Nearly all of the companies, 98 percent, perform separate waste collection; 76 percent have defined their own targets for reducing waste and waste generated; and 50 percent use raw materials from recycling.
On the other hand, from the perspective of carbon dioxide emissions (SDG 13), companies in the sector have yet to shape their actions. In fact, only 33 percent of respondents have defined targets related to CO2 reduction, and even fewer, 11 percent of companies have formalized these targets in an official document.
Among the activities included in the package of best practices with respect to goal 13, only 9 percent of the companies surveyed considered developing offsetting actions whose implementation costs would be decidedly low, given the low environmental impact that, by their nature, companies in this sector have.
In a sector with a high content of technology and specialization, where innovation is central to the competitiveness of supply, human capital and, therefore, quality training (SDG 4) of employees are among the most important intangible assets. Ninety-two percent of companies say they have set up or adopted a management system to address employee training needs. Eighty-seven percent have set training goals for their employees, of which more than half (54 percent) are formalized goals. In addition, 63 percent of companies say they provide training on soft skills as well as technical subjects, and 82 percent say they have adopted staff performance evaluation procedures.
Companies’ commitment to sustainable local and community development (SDG 11) is also strong: 68 percent of companies show awareness of their role as a driver of growth through, for example, the provision of economic contributions to support local entities and young talent.
Among the areas for improvement is that of diversity and equal opportunity (SDG 5), with respect to which work needs to be done on implementing policies aimed at greater inclusiveness, both of female and young people’s presences, in a traditionally male-dominated sector. To date, the workforce is predominantly male (86 percent). Young people represent a very minimal part of the total workforce: 77 percent of the people working in companies in the sector are over 30 years old. Only 22 percent of companies have a policy or committee for valuing diversity and promoting equal opportunities.
That said, good practices adopted by companies in the area of equal opportunity and diversity include the implementation of a more inclusive policy, the creation of company nurseries and actions to accompany maternity.
Finally, there is a need for companies to invest more in sustainability governance (SDG 16) and the formalization of their initiatives: in fact, only 30 percent communicate ESG issues through a dedicated section on their website and only 4 percent have formalized this procedure through the drafting of a reporting document such as the Sustainability Report.
In the area of innovation (SDG 9), from digital to cybersecurity, companies are strongly oriented toward the development of innovative and efficient technologies that can reduce resource waste, foster more sustainable consumption patterns, and ensure greater productivity for corporate customers. In fact, the survey results tell us that 91 percent of enterprises have defined a strategy or future goals regarding digitization, automation and Industry 4.0.
Among the most popular best practices is that related to the development of digitization and communication projects with installed products to enable, in agreement with the customer, their continuous monitoring and predict their maintenance needs. All this means, in fact, reduction of production time and downtime, as well as proper use of resources. Activities, these, that contribute to the improvement of the company’s competitiveness.
On the R&D front: 72 percent of companies have defined a strategy or future goals geared toward reducing the environmental impacts of products. Almost all respondents ensure that they use the tool of labeling or that of training to instruct customers on the proper use of machines (91 percent) and their disposal at the end of their life cycle (72 percent).
In general, the Sustainability Report 2021 shows a widespread lack of formalization of processes: although 64 percent of companies have defined strategies and goals, only 24 percent have done so in a formalized manner. The percentage related to the management and monitoring of sustainable pathways, although higher (39 percent in a formalized manner), remains below half. On the other hand, the Report’s findings highlight the need for companies in the sector to consolidate their attitude toward “communicating sustainability” through the implementation of ad hoc business practices