The second edition of BELIEVE, the event dedicated to the world of credit and business was held at IBM Studios in Milan. Lots of data and insights to understand how the business fabric is reacting to a period of uncertainty
Why energy? Because the business world is perhaps the first actor involved in, and affected by international and geopolitical events. The ecological transition can no longer be postponed, it is clear. So too is the difficulty on the part of companies in meeting carbon neutrality targets by combining them with issues such as procurement and investment in renewables.
“As a ruling class, we need to feel co-responsible for the deep modernization and energy and digital transitions of our country. Innovation is not enough, it must be realized,” was how Corrado Passera, CEO of Illimity, introduced the proceedings of the second edition of BELIEVE, the event dedicated to the world of credit and business held today, June 23rd, at IBM Studios in Milan. An analysis by Cerved showed that 200 billion euros are needed for the energy transition of Italian SMEs by 2050.
It started from a global scenario, taking into consideration the European context. Has the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022 accelerated the process of gas enfranchisement? Certainly, our country and the old continent did not face the dramatic period that was feared in the first months of the war, managing instead to diversify.
On the other hand, there remains the issue of costs, which have reached unsustainable figures for large, medium, and small businesses: in price increases on bills, Italian SMEs spent an additional 24 billion euros in 2022 alone. Here then, while fossil sources still remain central, innovation is driving a path that will increasingly strengthen renewables, making them more reliable and continuous.
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A snapshot of the ecosystem was presented during BELIEVE, a study commissioned by Illimity entitled “Finance and expensive energy: measures to support SMEs affected by rising energy costs.”
Conducted in collaboration with Deloitte, it aims to understand how companies have behaved in the face of such difficulties. “The energy shock has heavily impacted two-thirds of companies,” highlighted Enrico Ferraresi, Partner at Deloitte. And how did they react? “By reshuffling working hours, passing on costs to customers. But it also showed that 27 percent have implemented audits and monitoring of energy expenses.” A sign that the green transition is already a topic of discussion in the SME world.
The dispersion of wealth in SMEs over the past two years is also estimated at tens of billions of euros. Nevertheless, great investment opportunities remain, as Constantin Terzago, Head of South and East Europe at Mutares, a German company that aims to acquire medium-sized companies in turnaround situations, pointed out. Francesca Bognin, CFO of RINA, also spoke at BELIEVE: “At this juncture, it is crucial that the financial system can support companies on transition projects, alongside the European PNRR and Green Deal.”
At BELIEVE speakers repeatedly touched on a pivotal concept, what Illimity CEO Passera called the “accumulation of uncertainties”
War, inflation, climate crisis, and so many other issues constitute breaks that can lead to paralysis. In this regard, to best frame, the scenario Dario Fabbri, a geopolitics expert, analyzed the global context focusing on what is happening and could happen in Ukraine and Taiwan. In short, SMEs are not islands, but actors in a globalized world where every event has unpredictable and rapid consequences.
So what are the possible avenues for SMEs when we think about energy transition tools? The concept of the fast reserve is advancing in the market, with the goal of improving grid frequency and thus the reliability of green sources. Green hydrogen, agrivoltaics, offshore wind, and revamping represent four technologies that are transforming the fabric, empowering it and growing it.
Other numbers are helpful in framing the potential of SMEs
The company Cerved relied on satellite images of Italian companies and, through a study of rooftop areas and economic possibilities for investing in photovoltaics, came to an encouraging conclusion. “110 thousand companies today are in a position to change,” the group’s CEO explained to BELIEVE Andrea Mignanelli.
These are realities that could focus on green to become more competitive and respond to structural change needs regarding energy supply. “Strong sector expertise is needed,” concluded Elena Maspoli, Head of Special Situations Energy at Illimity. “We believe that finance should focus on shorter time horizons. Don’t look at 20 years anymore, because we all know that in five years this new market will be a reality.”
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First published in StartupItalia, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.
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