we are proud to present the fourth Integrated Report of the Poste Italiane Group. We want this document to tell the story of 2021, a year of transition for the company and the country characterised by a strong desire to restart.
Last year, the Italian economy and its many companies were hit by an unprecedented crisis following the Covid-19 pandemic, which caused total paralysis of many production sectors in their entire chain. The health emergency had a widespread impact on economies and communities, but, at the same time, the shutdown had temporary benefits for the environment such as reduced emissions and improved air quality. These economic losses and environmental improvements generated by the pandemic underlined the trade-off between economy and environment, highlighting the matter of sustainable consumption. Inevitably, in this situation, traditional businesses will decline, leaving space for innovative business models that can address the challenges of the future.
Covid-19 can be seen as a starting point for planning the transition towards a more sustainable economy. In this transition, companies must evolve and revolutionise their business models to make them more sustainable and resilient.
The pandemic also highlighted the importance of digitalisation and innovation, as demonstrated by the expansion of e-commerce, by the vast adoption of new agile working models and the use of new technologies for checking green certificates that made it easier to start back up again.
All of this is relevant for the Poste Italiane Group. We are fully aware that the only way to come out of the crisis is by adopting a business model that contributes to achieving a low-carbon and inclusive economy that protects people and the communities we operate in, maintaining constant dialogue and cooperation with them over time. This aspect is acknowledged in the content of the “Sustain & Innovate 24” Strategic Plan with which, from 2020, the Group placed innovation and sustainability at the heart of all its strategies.
The commitment and awareness remained throughout 2021, and saw further reinforcement. Poste Italiane confirmed its dedication by promoting the new “Sustain & Innovate 24 Plus” Industrial Plan.
Working to achieve the objectives set out by the Plan, Poste Italiane sets itself the goal of directing Italy’s sustainable development, representing a guide for the recovery and digital evolution of the country through the definition of financial, operating and sustainability objectives. The latter embrace sustainability in the fullest sense of the word, so from a social, environmental and governance point of view. With particular reference to environmental sustainability, in the last year we observed an increase in the relevance of these topics at global level with COP 26 and at European level with the publications related to the environmental EU Taxonomy, to which a specific section within the document has been dedicated. At national level, in addition to the National Recovery and Resilience Plan which has allocated significant investments to the green transition, a historic reform was also made to the Italian Constitution with the amendment of two articles, 9 and 41, to include the protection of the environment, biodiversity and ecosystems. In this context, we implemented activities to combat climate change in order to acknowledge requests from institutions and our stakeholders. The commitment made, as well as finalising the achievement of the ambitious objective of carbon neutrality by 2030, also reflects the innovative green business philosophy adopted by the Group, namely a holistic approach which incorporates all Poste Italiane products, services and processes. This also manifests through greater engagement with consumers, which we have defined the “Green Challenge”, programmes for offsetting CO2 emissions that reward the “green behaviours” of our customers.
From the social perspective, in 2021 Poste Italiane yet again wished to underline its closeness to the territories and local communities.
Poste Italiane’s contribution to combating the pandemic also continued to be essential in the second year of the health emergency, thanks to the nationwide presence of its physical and digital network and investments to update and modernise its platforms and infrastructure. Not only has the Group provided institutions with its logistics network for the delivery of millions of vaccines, it also made its digital infrastructure available for the purposes of establishing an information platform for citizens to track and book doses. It has been our honour to contribute to the country’s recovery, by reinventing ourselves quickly and leveraging innovation, technology and digitalisation.
The growth of the Poste Italiane Group is based on a longterm perspective and wide-ranging projects that over the years have allowed us to achieve a competitive advantage on the market and respond promptly to the needs of society. This has been especially possible thanks to the ability to adapt our services and processes to a continuously changing technological and market context, demonstrating to the entire country that it can rely on the nationwide presence of an organisational structure with around 13,000 Post Offices, and on cross-functional expertise that intercepts the social and economic needs of citizens even during very complicated times, such as the ongoing health emergency. In addition, in line with previous years, a fundamental role was played again this year by significant investments in technology and expertise in order to promote the continuous innovation of products and services offered to consumers, also thanks to the reorganisation of operating processes and structures.
In 2021, Poste Italiane was also confirmed to be the largest business in the logistics sector in Italy and a leader in the financial, insurance and payments services sector.
Being the country’s largest company by number of employees also entails the responsibility of playing a key role in the life of the country, since it involves the ability to positively influence its economy, in terms of Gross Domestic Product, tax revenue, employment and household income, generating a turnover of around € 11.2 billion in 2021.
These results would not have been possible if over the years we had not adopted a sustainable business model based on a value creation process that uses financial and non-financial capital in an optimal way, integrating the Industrial Plan with ESG objectives in order to generate an economic, environmental and social outcome that allowed the company to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations. Specifically, Poste Italiane has adopted a Sustainability Strategy that consists of a set of Sustainability Policies, part of the company regulations, where general principles, future objectives and methods for managing non-financial priority areas for the company and our stakeholders are identified, i.e. a system of sustainability objectives that contributes to national and supranational social and environmental development objectives. This strategy is consistent with Poste Italiane’s activities and business criteria.
The challenges faced in these two years of the pandemic have made us realise that the sustainability process undertaken for many years now is the correct approach to making the business more resilient,
thanks to the integration of social and environmental factors alongside business criteria in order to promote an all-encompassing company risk assessment comprising not only financial risks, but also risks related to the social, environmental and governance sphere. Thanks to this wider conception of risk, Poste Italiane has planned its short, medium and long-term development plans more effectively.
Over the years, the importance that we place on relations with our stakeholders has not changed. Specifically, we are committed to building a sustainable relationship with them, aiming for inclusion and promoting as extensive a participation as possible based on dialogue and collaboration. To achieve this, listening to stakeholders during the Multi-stakeholder Forum was also important this year. Now in its fifth edition, the forum was held via live streaming in accordance with the limitations imposed by the health emergency. The event is an extremely important time for reflection and strategic discussion around the topics of Sustainability that are material for the sector and identifies the material topics to be included in the Group’s Sustainability Strategy, which is based on the following eight pillars: Integrity and transparency, People development, Diversity and inclusion, Creating value for the country, Green transition, Customer experience, Innovation, Sustainable finance.
The quality of the journey and the sustainability strategies adopted over the years are also reflected in the many national and international awards received from the biggest ratings agencies.
In line with 2020, in 2021 Poste Italiane confirmed its presence in the prestigious Dow Jones Sustainability World Index, alongside companies that demonstrated their greater commitment to the sustainable management of their business. In particular, Poste Italiane is positioned within the more restrictive Europe segment. In addition, during the year, Poste Italiane was recognised by CDP (formerly Carbon Disclosure Project) as a leader in the fight against climate change, appearing in the “Leadership” category and confirming its A- rating. Equally as important are the confirmations in the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index (GEI), FTSE4GOOD and Euronext Vigeo-Eiris World 120 indices. In relation to the latter, we are particularly pleased to report that Poste Italiane has achieved first place among nearly 5,000 companies rated for their sustainability performance. In addition, we are proud to be note the Group’s entry into the new MIB ESG index launched by Euronext and Borsa Italiana, the first index dedicated to Italian blue chips that adopt the best environmental, social and corporate governance practices. Finally, this year Poste Italiane has also confirmed its presence in the 2022 edition of the S&P Global Sustainability Yearbook for its notable sustainability performance.
The excellent results in 2021 strengthened Poste Italiane’s reputation among citizens, customers and institutions, who have placed their trust in our Group again and again for years.
The goals achieved also demonstrate the solidity of the choices made within our sustainability journey which over time has manifested in a constant commitment to listening to the needs of stakeholders and achieving common goals, offering proof of how the economic value generated by the Company can be a direct consequence of the sustainable success achieved by the communities with whom we share our day-to-day lives.