UniCredit becomes member of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s international charity Network to support our approach to accelerating the circular economy transition across our countries. This new membership is in line with our Net Zero pledge and purpose of Empowering Communities to Progress as we actively engage to ensure a more sustainable and equitable future for all.

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The Ellen MacArthur Foundation is an international charity committed to creating a global circular economy — which is driven by design to eliminate waste and pollution, circulate products and materials, and regenerate nature. The Foundation works with businesses, policymakers, innovators, universities, cities, philanthropic organisations and thought leaders worldwide to facilitate collaboration opportunities and develop and scale circular economy solutions.

Fiona Melrose, Head of Group Strategy and ESG, commented: “We are pleased to become a Network member of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, which is a renowned pioneer in supporting the transition towards a circular economy globally. This membership is fully in line with our Net Zero pledge and purpose of Empowering our Communities to Progress. Our active engagement and support to the creation of a circular economy across our countries ensures a further tangible contribution towards a just and fair transition to a more sustainable and equitable future for all our clients and communities.”

UniCredit plays a strategic role in fostering the transition towards a circular economy, a building block of the European Green Deal and one of the six core objectives of the EU Taxonomy. There are several ways in which our bank is actively contributing to the circular transition, including through finance / lending, advisory, synergies and partnerships and internal initiatives on resource efficiency and recycling.


Looking at the four circular economy categories as defined by Eurostat, our current circular initiatives can be mapped as follows:


Circular design & production – our Italian bank cards UniCredit Card Flexia BIO and MyOne Bio are produced in polylactic acid, a fully compostable material. In addition, the My Genius Green account is completely paper-free.

Circular use – we have a Group-wide goal of eliminating all single-use plastic items from our premises by 2022. Furthermore, c. 94% of our printing paper carries an environmental certification.

Circular support – we continuously provide informative and educational contents on the circular economy transition and sustainability to all colleagues through dedicated training, best practice sharing and targeted projects.

Circular value economy – we continue to reduce our waste and maximise recycling Group-wide (separation and recycling of valuable materials is at 98% in Italy and at 60% Group-wide). Furthermore, we ensure an adequate end-of-life management of our IT equipment with a preference to reconditioning and recycling (in Italy 40,000 IT devices were dismissed in 2021 out of which 84% were sent to materials recovery and 96% were recovered).


Please refer to our 2021 Integrated Report for further information.


Furthermore, UniCredit has been supportive of innovative start-ups and SMEs active in the circular economy space since 2009. UniCredit Start Lab, a platform for innovative Italian businesses with the aim to identify the best new companies and provide them with support and training has been helping to sustain innovations in the following sectors:


Clean technology


Innovations Made in Italy

Life sciences

Impact innovation: new category from 2021, considered highly relevant to ESG


Among all new companies that have been supported, 50 start-ups are actively involved in fostering the circular economy. Together they have raised more than 33 million euros within the innovation ecosystem and 18 of them are now also UniCredit clients.