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The circular economy can help us out of the Covid-19 economic slump

Moving to a circular economy can help businesses of all sizes become cleaner, greener and more robust in an uncertain future. The Circular Economy Lab is showing the way forward


"We want to embrace the concept of open innovation to make sure the connection between start-ups and the established companies can lead to reinforced collaboration.
We are working with the champions of today in order to nurture the champions of tomorrow"

Massimiano Tellini, Global Head of Circular Economy Intesa Sanpaolo Innovation Center


At the Cariplo Factory Milan, an innovation hub that actively fosters collaboration between corporates and start-ups, Fondazione Cariplo and Intesa Sanpaolo have created a hotspot for cooperation around the circular economy.

The Circular Economy Lab was created to bring established companies and start-ups together, to generate innovation through research and development, and to drive those ideas through to real-world business and commercial outcomes.

The Cariplo Factory generally acts as an “enabler” for start-ups, helping to grow businesses and boost employment opportunities across Italy.

" We work like an innovation catalyst. We try to connect talents, innovators and businesses, allowing these actors to create and foster disruptive innovation.

Riccardo Porro, Chief Operating Officer Cariplo Factory


Building on the shared values between Fondazione Cariplo and Intesa Sanpaolo, the Factory is a natural home for the Circular Economy Lab. Part of Intesa Sanpaolo’s remit is to be a strategic partner to companies, helping them drive change in their organisations. Training and education offered by Intesa Sanpaolo Formazione help businesses and directors to skill up for seismic shifts such as a pivot towards circular economy practices.

Within the Circular Economy Lab, Intesa Sanpaolo Formazione runs and plans new courses that outline how the circular economy is key to both the future of the planet and future business competitiveness.

"The demand for training tells us that Italian managers deeply value the development of their skills as they are a key factor for the growth of their companies. "

Elisa Zambito, Managing Director of Intesa Sanpaolo Formazione.

Tellini and Porro agree that the need for disruptive change in the economy is urgent. The Covid-19 pandemic has taken a severe toll on global economies and, in the EU, many businesses and individuals are facing a future in which they need to rebuild. 

The urgency of change has become even more evident, probably because we were in an uncomfortable situation, and by definition this generates innovation,”Riccardo Porro, Chief Operating Officer Cariplo Factory

Tellini argues that the circular economy is the most disruptive force for shaping (or reshaping) global markets because it is both a tool of strategic innovation and a generator of future competitivity:
“The circular economy is one of the best answers that the business and financial communities can embrace.” Massimiano Tellini, Global Head of Circular Economy Intesa Sanpaolo Innovation Center

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