What is the green economy? What exactly does it mean to work in the green economy sector? Known also as the “ecological economy”, the green economy is firstly an economic model that arises from an analysis where, in addition to the benefits of the profit from a certain production, consideration is also given to the environmental impact of the production itself. The objective is to calculate the potential damage to the environment caused by the entire transformation process of raw materials, from their extraction to transport and transformation into energy and products and finally the possible environmental damage that their definitive elimination or disposal produces.
And are Italian companies becoming “green economy companies”? It would really seem so as demonstrated by the figures in the rapporto GreenItaly 2017 (GreenItaly 2017 report).
There are 355 thousand Italian businesses in industry and services with employees who invested in green technologies and products in the period 2011-2016. In effect more than one in four, 27.1% of the entire non-agricultural business community with employees.
Investing in the green economy is a good instrument for overcoming the crisis and for internationalisation. In fact the businesses that do this have a greater international presence; 18.7% export against 10.9% of businesses that do not invest. The phenomenon is even more apparent in the manufacturing sector, where 46% of exporting businesses are eco-investing against 27.7% for other sectors.
The economic and employment future of Italy is therefore green. This is also confirmed by the data on green jobs: in 2017 almost 320 thousand positions were filled. Moreover, in the planning and R&D company area, green jobs represent a good 60% of the needs expressed by businesses.
In our country the spread of the green economy has had a decisive impact on the development of the agricultural sector and youth employment. In fact Italy ranks first in Europe for the number of farms run by young people under the age of 35. According to Coldiretti there are more than 55 thousand.
Sustainable agriculture integrates local natural resources and biological processes to restore and improve soil fertility, encourage more efficient use of water, increase biodiversity in crops and the livestock, reduce the use of chemicals for pest and weed control and promote employment in small scale farming concerns.
«Agriculture is the sector which has been able to change direction and accept new challenges in our century before any other and better than any other» explained Maria Letizia Gardoni, national delegate of Coldiretti Giovane Impresa. Once considered a marginal sector, it is now a first professional choice for the young people of our country and that is not all».
Rural Italy has been able to offer opportunities for growth and self-realisation. Starting with the solid foundations of ability and rural culture, innovative processes now help to make this sector extremely modern and contemporary. Innovation in products, processes and services make agriculture attractive and leaves plenty of room for creativity and inventiveness.
On the land of the green economy agriculture is the sector which has been able to change direction and accept new challenges in our century before any other and better than any other.
A number of new professional occupations have arisen in the wake of the rediscovery of sustainable agriculture and the green economy. Here are the ten most innovative.
- Horticultural Tutor. The horticultural tutor goes to the homes of those interested and teaches them how to grow vegetables on balconies. The tutor is a teacher who follows the growth of the young plants until the customer learns to take care of them. There is more demand for the horticultural tutor in the more urban areas, especially in the north and centre of Italy. Horticultural tutors are professionals paid on the basis of the lesson duration. The standard rate is 20 euro per hour plus VAT.
- Agri-wellness e Agri-stylist. Health and beauty, style and beauty acquire a new increasingly rural and organic identity. This has led to the creation of farmbeauty and the new agri-beautician profession which uses products manufactured in accordance with the principles of natural beauty treatment. Fashion is becoming green too and the agri-stylist is the new technical expert that creates anallergic colours and fabrics using yarns made from nettles, hemp or soy. Thus sustainable fashion is created in which waste materials are used frequently and gladly. Today the stylist focuses on ecology.
- Digital livestock breeder. Agricultural concerns in Italy too are assuming the nature of a service which includes cultural and educational services. The role of educational activities in the agricultural field is of strategic importance for the purposes of raising consumer awareness regarding the ecological and ethical aspects of the agri-food industry. As a result “Educational Farms” have sprung up which offer teachers and students itineraries that explore agriculture and cultural, historical, environmental and gastronomic traditions.
- Agriculturalist. This is a multiple role professional. The main purpose of the agriculturalist’s work is to modernise and increase the efficiency of agricultural and livestock work by rationalising production procedures and the introduction of new techniques and technology into the farming industry.
- Agri-wedding planner. The job of the agri-wedding planner is to organise weddings in the country. For a celebration in a place which is economical by definition, the holiday farm. The agri-wedding planner has the job of organising an agri-wedding choosing options that are environmentally friendly, starting with the floral decorations at the registry office or church, to the wedding lunch with a good zero kilometre menu.
- Agri-chef. The agri-chef is a cook with proven ability and experience that does his job transforming mainly farm or local products, depending on the season and favouring rural flavours and preparing dishes with ingredients connected with the protection of biodiversity. The Agri-chef is a rural chef who rediscovers the seasonal nature of products, uses supply at km0 and combines old culinary flavours with the most modern techniques of food preparation.
- Botanist. The botanist is the specialist that collects and analyses seeds, plants, flowers and pollen to study the diffusion of plant species, their cross-fertilisation and capacity to adapt. Botanists also study plant distribution over the land. The botanist’s basic work consists of developing new methods of growing plants or flowers to develop techniques for improving them and methods to create new species or hybrids.
- Organic Farmer. The organic farmer has a thorough knowledge of the seasons, the soil structure and green technology. He is a rural businessman. He works the land and the products obtained are subject to strict environmentally friendly and eco-sustainable processes. The organic farmer does not use harmful substances. He does not pollute. He uses renewable energy sources. He uses and reuses everything produced by the land.
- Digital livestock breeder. Digital livestock breeders manage their stables remotely from an iPad which is used to control feed and the condition of the animals at a distance. They are experts on new technologies and use drones, sensors, Gps maps, 3D television cameras, self-driving tractors and seeders to "work" fields, vineyards and livestock farms while 3D television cameras scan the udders of the cows to improve milking efficiency, special devices to separate alimentary milk from the part destined for cheese production in order to increase dairy yields and sensors with intelligent spectra to detect temperature differences in the animals signalling possible illnesses.
- Environmental Chemist. The environmental chemist studies natural phenomena from the chemical and biological viewpoint, interactions with the surrounding ecosystem and the effects on man and the environment. His professional work involves protection of the environment and nature from any form of pollution, tampering and exploitation of natural resources.