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04 October 2021

#BG4SDGs: robots that grow like plants and are good for the planet

What is the real state of health of the planet? How can humans reduce their impact on resources? And how can technology contribute to sustainable development?

We tried to answer these questions in the new episode of #BG4SDGs together with Barbara Mazzolai, Director of the Bioinspired Robotics Laboratory at the Italian Technological Institute in Genoa and mother of the plantoids.

Together with one of the most important Italian innovators, we analysed the path towards the realisation of SDG number 15 - Life on Earth. According to Mazzolai, the transition towards a more sustainable planet in which man and earth live in harmony can only be achieved through robotics, but on one condition: that robots are a help and not a further element of pollution at the end of their life cycle.

But is this really possible? 

"Yes, it is possible through the development of bio-inspired robotics. We are working to lay the foundations for biodegradable technology, i.e. technology that is absorbed by the earth at the end of the robot's life cycle. To do this, we are taking inspiration from the world of plants, which are the true sustainable element of the planet,' Mazzolai said, adding, 'I believe this is the future direction to take, because we cannot create more waste and because technology must be a help and not an additional disposal problem".

The biorobot project was first presented in 2012 by Mazzolai and his team. It is a true Italian innovation that, if developed correctly, can really be a valid aid for a truly sustainable transition. The idea behind it is as simple as it is innovative. Humans remain central, while robots are developed as a real study platform to get to know us better, understand our nature and the way we interact with the planet.

"This kind of robotics starts from biology and helps us to be more sustainable. We need to work on the study of materials to reduce the impact on the environment and better understand how living organisms work in nature. Already on this basis we have been able to develop artificial intelligence projects that can be applied without impact in agriculture and resource management" Mazzolai concludes.

Banca Generali and responsible investment

In line with the objective of fostering the transition to sustainable models of economic development and generating lasting value, we have adopted specific policies for responsible investment.

Moreover, thanks to the use of ESG indicators and screening tools, developed with the support of external advisors, we are able to determine whether the companies we invest in are involved in controversial sectors or have violated the UN Global Compact.

We do this in order to support our clients in building portfolios that take into account their different personal ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) goals.

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