Leonardo tells young Europeans: the courage of your ideas will prevail

30 April 2021

Leonardo CEO, Alessandro Profumo and Head of Sustainability, Renata Mele, address opening session of the European Youth Parliament.

“The strength of young people lies in the courage of their ideas and in their extraordinary dedication to their projects. We need you, we need your energy,” stated Leonardo CEO, Alessandro Profumo, speaking during the inauguration of the 92nd International Session of the European Youth Parliament, held digitally from Milan.

During eight days of events focused on sustainability, young Europeans voiced a demand for change, met by equally resounding responses. The NextGenerationEU recovery fund, for example, represents “an incredible opportunity,” underlined Profumo. “You must speak up so that we can hear you,” he urged the young people connected to the session. “We stand before an enormous opportunity to change. I am quite confident and we are strengthened by the awareness that we are more prepared than previous generations thanks to greater levels of education and a more complete understanding of the world due to greater accessibility and globalisation of the media. You must impose your thoughts and abandon any insecurity or sense of awe before power.”

Discussions centred on sustainability as a driver of innovation and competition with sustainability at the heart of Leonardo’s own growth strategy. “Sustainability is not the antithesis of business logic,” added Profumo. “On the contrary, competition and sustainability are closely linked: sustainability is a driver of innovation, and innovation is essential to being competitive. This is a crucial cultural change.”

Companies are assessed according to their long-term impact, “which is the essence of sustainability,” explained Profumo, pointing to the fact that Leonardo has launched (for the first year ever) a new integrated financial report. The publication offers a complete, measurable and transparent view of the value generated by the Group, linking financial results with environmental, social and corporate governance performance.

The biggest challenge today, Profumo concluded, is the convergence of industry and digital technology, making it essential to go beyond a linear cost-cutting logic: “We cannot make choices based on short-term economic gain, but on the long-term creation of value. It is essential to understand that artificial intelligence, cloud computing, simulations and augmented reality all generate value.”

These themes were picked up in a presentation by Leonardo’s Head of Sustainability, Renata Mele, during a session of the Sustainability Fair dedicated to the fundamental link between innovation and sustainability 

During her discussion with the European Youth Parliament, Mele further elaborated on Profumo’s speech, focusing on the idea that “sustainability creates long-term value” with the topic becoming a financial requirement in a complex global context where important transformative processes are intertwined. So, how does the business world evolve? With society engaging with organisations in a new way, having companies take a more active role becomes crucial, requiring them to have a global and participatory approach to addressing contemporary challenges and guaranteeing long-term sustainable development.

As a provider of innovative technological solutions, Leonardo is already contributing to the progress and wellbeing of the planet and all its people, in line with the UN Agenda’s Sustainable Development Goals. Our vision takes shape in a sustainability strategy that looks to tackle the entire value chain: from research and technological innovation, to operations, all the way to the development of new business models and solutions.

You can see Leonardo’s commitment to sustainability in our figures explains by Mele. “12% of our profits are invested in R&D with involvement with over 8,000 people, the davinci-1 supercomputer, our cooperation with 70 universities and our 10 Leonardo Labs.”