15:53 | 13.11.2015
Alcantara Continues Its Focus on Sustainability as Key Brand Value

Alcantara, the Italian producer of the trademarked luxury material for
vehicle interiors, continued its commitment to the environment in 2015
by organizing and participating in its second annual symposium on
automotive sustainability.

Car makers, academics and non-governmental organizations recently
gathered at the International Symposium on Sustainability in the
Automotive Industry in Venice, Italy. The focus was on the importance of
sustainability and its effect on future business models for the global
automotive industry.

As one of the first companies in Europe to achieve Carbon Neutrality
certification, Alcantara worked closely with the Venice International
University and the Center for Automotive Mobility and Innovation at Ca’
Foscari University to organize the symposium. Conference speakers and
panelists included representatives from car makers BMW and Toyota, along
with university professors and non-governmental organizations from Asia,
Europe and the U.S.

Ursula Mathar, head of sustainability and environmental protection at
BMW Group in Germany, told symposium participants that the
automaker’s research and development teams have embraced an efficient
dynamics strategy to minimize fuel consumption and CO2
emissions while, at the same time, keeping an eye on increased dynamics
and driving pleasure.

Yoshikazu Tanaka, chief engineer for Toyota’s Mirai hydrogen fuel-cell
car, noted that sustainability has been at the heart of Toyota since the
company’s birth. Mirai, he said, will be the first hydrogen fuel-cell
auto with zero emissions and is an example of the potentialities and the
interesting perspectives coming from research and development of hybrid

In a more critical tone, Guido Palazzo, professor of business ethics at
the University of Lausanne in Switzerland, outlined his view on the
recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. He concluded: “To be
sustainable has nothing to do with putting effective filters over
traditional engines. It rather requires a revolution of the whole
concept of mobility. If companies just cure the symptoms of the problems
they create, they are not sustainable.”

Positive perspectives are coming from Asia, noted Professor Ye Wu of the
School of Environment at Tsinghua University in China. He said his
country is becoming a place for innovation with its research into an
electric mobility strategy and producing hydrogen-powered vehicles. The
lack of crude oil resources, energy safety issues, climate change,
global warming and urban air pollution, he noted, are driving new
solutions for Asian markets.

In his presentation to the conference, Andrea Boragno, chairman and CEO
of Alcantara, underlined how a serious, strong commitment to
sustainability is critical to business success. He noted that Alcantara
has put sustainability at the core of its competitive strategy since
2009. In those six years, he pointed out, the company’s turnover has
grown by 142 percent and its operating profit has increased by 349

“Without a doubt, sustainability has a relevant impact on eco-financial
performances, although so far no one has been able to identify a
mathematic multiplier,” Boragno said.
Ferraro, professor of strategic management at IESE Business School
in Barcelona, Spain, added that there are increasing connections between
companies investing in sustainability and stock-exchange reactions. He
compared figures from the 1990s and 2010s and said it is clear how much
the perception and the value assigned to sustainability has increased
with investors.

Other symposium speakers included Marco Lambertini, director general of
WWF International Business and NGOs; Wanda Lopuch, chair of the board at
the Global Sourcing Congress, USA; Joseph Sarkis, professor of
management at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, USA; and Bas Verplanken,
professor of social psychology at the University of Bath, UK.

Alcantara has developed an interactive microsite outlining recent
initiatives and actions taken to support its commitment to
sustainability. The microsite can be accessed at
Alcantara S.p.A. –
Founded in 1972, Alcantara represents one of the leading Made in Italy
brands. Registered trademark of Alcantara S.p.A. and the result of
unique and proprietary technology, Alcantara® is a highly
innovative material offering an unparalleled combination of sensory,
aesthetic, and functional qualities. Thanks to its extraordinary
versatility, Alcantara® is the chosen material for leading
brands in numerous specialist fields: fashion and accessories, the
automotive industry, interior design, home décor and
consumer-electronics. These characteristics, together with a serious and
proven commitment to the use of sustainable materials, allow Alcantara
to express and define contemporary lifestyle: the lifestyles of those
who love to enjoy everyday products to the full whilst respecting the

Having analysed, reduced and offset all CO2 emissions linked to the
company, in 2009 Alcantara® was certified “Carbon Neutral.”
To document the company’s journey in this field, Alcantara conducts and
publishes an annual Sustainability Report, certified by the
international service corporation TÜV SÜD and available for consultation
on the company website.

Headquartered in Milan, Alcantara also have production facilities and a
research department in Nera Montoro in the heart of Italy’s Umbria
region (Terni).
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