KI-LIFE Sustainable Award: the sustainable future starts today

KI-LIFE Sustainable Award: the sustainable future starts today

The panel’s view of the KI-LIFE Sustainable Award, created and promoted by Kiki Lab in cooperation with Homi Fiera Milano.

This is the second edition of the KI-LIFE Sustainable Award, aimed at Italian and international companies in HOMI's target sectors that have developed products or projects in four categories: Environmental, Territorial, Social, All-Round Sustainability.


To select the four winners – one in each category – a panel of judges consisting of managers, professionals, retail and sustainability experts in the environmental and social spheres.


Here are the views of some of the panelists on the role of sustainability in consumer choices, what is meant by the word sustainability and/or how to properly narrate this value and what criteria they use to reward companies and products.



Innovation, ethical commitment and functionality


Andrea Demodena, Promotion's Managing Director, believes that consumers now read labels carefully and know how to use qr-codes to get more information about the product, the raw materials, the processing cycle. For the price they pay for a product, they expect benefits for themselves, but also for the planet. 


"The term sustainability", Demodena clarifies, "is defined in the regulations underlying CSR - corporate social responsibility - and ESG (environmental, social, governance) practices that guide companies' choices and investments. But people know little about the rules and practices, which remain a matter for specialists. The narrative should refer to achievements and completed projects that have complied with Relevant Regulations. "A very important aspect", he emphasises, "is that the narrative is ethical, i.e. that it respects the guidelines that refer to ethical claims (ISO/TS 17033). The narrative must be truthful, clear, responsible, in short, less fictional and much more scientifically based. The role of imagery is very important".


As far as the criteria for choosing products to be awarded, Demodena identifies them in the originality of the proposal, the way it is implemented, and the level of usefulness. "Also very important is durability, the possibility of repairing or modifying the product to prolong its use, recyclability, and the health and safety of each item". 



Credibility as a strategic priority for sustainability


According to Francesco Farinetti, CEO of Green Pea , sustainability is a key driver in consumer choice: more than 70% of consumers say they want to buy sustainable products, while less than 30% turn this desire into concrete green purchases. Figures growing in double digits on Generation Z champions, who are much more environmentally aware but have less, for now, spending power. "We have a great opportunity before us, which we must always read according to the logic of each market.


Farinetti notes that sustainability is experienced on one side by those who have delved into sustainability issues by looking for brands that meet their trustability needs on sustainable supply chain and production. And on the other by those who experience sustainability as a trend, leading to more sporadic consumption choices. "This is still the majority of the audience with whom it is necessary to balance the hedonistic aspect with sustainability information where the tone of voice must reward the novelty of the green choice".


In selecting the companies and products to be awarded at HOMI, Farinetti intends to assess three characteristics: environmental impact of production in all its supply chain aspects, sustainability and social impact on all project stakeholders, and storytelling, i.e. how the project is presented.



Market evolution and continued growth opportunities


Paolo Micolucci, Managing Director of Brico io confirms how the latest market research shows increasingly green consumers and how they are defining the new market rules. The ways in which a company can better engage its clients on sustainability issues vary between sectors and the purchasing decisions of clients shape the demand for all commercial actions. "At Brico io for more than two years now we have completely dematerialised the flyer: if you consider that we used to print almost 30 million flyers a year, we have avoided emitting around 350 tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere". A choice to simplify the direct relationship with the company in the purchasing process.


"The term sustainability", Micolucci explains, "refers to the concept of 'meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising those of the future generation', considering that today the term has moved towards a more global meaning that takes into account the environmental, economic and social dimensions. It is equally important for a company to be able to communicate its commitment to sustainability well. "The strategy of proper sustainability storytelling", he continues, "must be based on a number of fundamental assumptions, including clearly identifying areas for improvement and strategies that the company must put in place to achieve positive sustainability impacts and implementing an ongoing strategy for communication activities".


For Micolucci, the choice of products to be awarded will be guided by the company's sensitivity to environmental issues and attention to the future of the Planet, "for example in the search for new materials and products that move in the direction of satisfying the needs of the present generation while protecting those of the future generation. Another important aspect that I will evaluate will be the company's ability to bring out the value of sustainability".



Generation Z leading the way in change


According to Andrea Santambrogio Deputy General Sales Manager of Viridea , understanding how sustainability drives consumer choices depends on the type of goods and the age group. "Generally speaking, I think that the 20 to 30 age group today is more sensitive than those who are older to choosing sustainable products". Santambrogio emphasises that a product is sustainable in inverse proportion to its ecological footprint. The latter "indicates how much the ecosystem and the earth's resources are being strained". So the more a product meets these criteria, the more it is appreciated (and selected as a possible winner).



Virtuous innovation: when talent marries ambition


Sustainability is seen by Laura Tarroni - Director Casastile_New Business Media (Tecniche Nuove Group) - as a key driver especially for millennials. "Sustainability for me equals truth", says Tarroni, "that's why we need true and moving stories to create involvement". And indeed, the criteria for selecting the products or companies to be awarded will be based on the identification of "a sincere commitment to research and innovation".