The Festival of Sustainable Development, now in its seventh edition and promoted by ASviS, made a stop in Milan. Among the protagonists of this event was also Poste Italiane, which has always made sustainability a key pillar of its strategy. Paolo Gencarelli, Head of Real Estate at Poste Italiane, was among the guests on the panel ‘Financing the Right Transition’, where he spoke about the company’s commitment to ensuring a sustainable transition, thanks also to the fundamental contribution of the Polis project.
Polis and sustainable development
Poste Italiane has a network of buildings with around 13,000 post offices, present in almost every Italian municipality, while the entire banking system has around 20,000 branches. Keeping the offices open, instead of closing them, was a choice of sustainability: a choice that took advantage of the opening of the NRRP and CNP, launching the Polis project. This project includes all ESG components. First of all, it starts with small towns, under 15,000 inhabitants, as the slogan ‘from small municipalities Italy is made big’ makes clear: the aim is to provide the same opportunities and services, turning post offices into public administration hubs. This makes it possible to stay in the small municipality and apply for a passport, identity card or court certificate and actually improve citizens’ lives significantly. There is therefore a great focus on the territory, which is to be given new life and made sustainable through this social function. The Polis project would then bring greater walkability for small town post offices.
Poste’s new infrastructure
Small towns are not as profitable as big cities, and this has led several banks to leave. This is why Polis is also part of an economic sustainability project: the project involves an investment of EUR 1.3 billion, of which EUR 800 million will be financed by NRRP, and includes major investments in infrastructure. In fact, 7,000 post offices by 2026 will have their front offices modernised and made sustainable, connecting them all to the smart building network. To ensure energy efficiency the best tool is technology: replacing 7,000 installations would be impossible, but regulating them remotely is the solution. Also planned are 1,000 photovoltaic systems to be installed on roofs, creating Italy’s largest photovoltaic network, and 5,000 charging stations for vehicles, so as to bring electric mobility to small municipalities as well.
First results of the project
Poste has already transformed 250 out of 7,000 post offices. In parallel, we are working with public administrations, which have shown great interest in accelerating this process. Collaboration with the Ministry of Justice has already started with the first certificates, while work is ongoing with the Ministry of the Interior and INPS, for passports and civil registration. The issue is not only being able to get a certificate from the post office, but also helping people who have difficulties accessing digital applications. In fact, not everyone is able to identify themselves with SPID and then print the document at home, so Polis is also a mechanism to shorten the digital divide.
The Coworking Network
The topic of coworking is also important to Poste, so much so that it has thought of special spaces in post offices throughout Italy, and not only in small municipalities. Co-working means cost flexibility: this system allows a space to be rented only for a limited period of time, which is crucial for both small professionals and large companies. There are currently 750 coworking facilities in Italy, most of them in the centre-north, with 200 in Milan alone. Poste wants to build them all over Italy.
The value of Polis
Polis is therefore an ambitious project that focuses on the territory, whose strength is to take and not to leave, whether we are talking about real estate or people. An average of three employees work in the offices, which means that between 20 and 25 thousand people, with all their families, depend on Polis. It is therefore a project of great vision and social inclusion.