Florim: a constant commitment to sustainability

Milena Bernardi

Florim’s 16th Sustainability Report outlines the group’s economic, social and environmental commitments, as well as the results it achieved in 2023 and the targets it has set for 2024.

Claudio Lucchese

Florim, a benefit company and certified B Corp since 2020, recently published its 16th Sustainability Report. The economic, social and environmental results contained in the report testify to the group’s determination to achieve its goals and underscore its constant commitment to generating value for all its stakeholders.

“The past year will be remembered for the outbreak of yet another armed conflict and ongoing geopolitical instability, both of which have had an adverse impact on the economy,” said Chairman Claudio Lucchese. “In this context, despite a general contraction in volumes compared to 2022, Florim has continued to look to the future with optimism, buoyed by the outstanding results achieved in recent years. In particular, the group has continued the investment plan it initiated in 2022.”

Increased investments despite decline in revenues

The group’s economic profile for 2023 reveals consolidated revenues of €467 million, down from €584 million in 2022.

This downturn is linked to the general decline in demand for ceramic products, reversing the significant growth observed in the main reference markets during 2021 and 2022. In 2023, EBITDA and EBITDA margin were impacted by both the contraction in sales and the increase in certain cost items such as energy expenditures, as well as personnel costs in the US business.

However, the downturn failed to slow down investment, which reached €121 million in 2023, totalling more than €270 million over the two-year period of 2022-2023. This marks a significant increase over the previous period and is in line with the plant renewal plan launched in 2022, focused on innovation, reducing emissions and improving product quality.

Work carried out in Italian factories, amounting to about €62 million, primarily involved the Mordano site for the continued construction of new production facilities and the expansion and modernisation of existing buildings. The work also partly involved the Fiorano site, with the construction of the new Plant 3 (covering 2,800 sqm). Additionally, at the end of the year, refurbishment began on the presses, kilns and the grinding, lapping and sorting departments at Plant 1, which produces traditional-sized porcelain stoneware. The aim of this intervention is to rationalise the production lines, achieve greater efficiency and reduce energy consumption.

Abroad, the renovation project at the Florim USA factory continued, with an investment of US $55 million during the year. This included the completion of a new 40,000 sqm warehouse and facilities for producing large-size ceramic slabs.

The group has made sustainability-related investments of €64 million since 2011, including approximately €6 million in 2023 alone.

FLORIM Flagship Store

Florim continues to open Flagship Stores in the most important international design cities.

After moving the New York Flagship store to its new location on Fifth Avenue in 2023, in 2024 the group opened a new space in London and restyled its Milan showroom. It also plans to open a new space in Rome. In Los Angeles, a new pop-up store was opened in 2023 while awaiting the opening of the new Flagship store by the end of 2024.

Environmental initiatives

During 2023, Florim’s commitment to the sustainability of its business model focused on all aspects of production. At the end of 2022, the company began altering its industrial process in order to reduce the thickness of all its traditional tiles from 10 mm to 9 mm, thereby significantly improving sustainability. This innovation has resulted in the use of smaller quantities of raw materials, less water, electricity and methane gas consumption in the production process, and a reduction in CO2 emissions.

Another important environmental initiative involved the construction of a large new rainwater collection tank (350 m × 6.2 m) at the Mordano plant. Together with the existing facilities, this enabled the company to recover and reuse about 7 million litres of rainwater in 2023.

Florim continues to focus on clean energy production and to date has installed 127,000 square metres of photovoltaic panels with a power output of 12.3 MWp. Over a period of 12 years, the company’s installations (photovoltaic panels and cogenerators) have enabled it to avoid the emission of 152,845 tons of CO2, including 23,457 tons in 2023 alone. Last year, self-produced electricity covered 78% of total consumption, an achievement that enabled Florim to obtain UNI EN ISO 50001 Certification for its effective energy management policy.

Another major initiative is the Carbon Neutral surfaces project launched in 2023, focused on materials that offset the CO2 emissions generated during the production process and over their entire life cycle.

In 2023, Florim sent 44,168 tonnes of separated waste (including fired waste) for recycling, equivalent to 99% of the total. When the US site is included, the average recycling rate is 87%.

Florim’s commitment to sustainability also led to the adoption of 2 electric trucks and the installation of a new high-power electric truck recharging system at both the Fiorano and Mordano plants. From June to December 2023, these trucks avoided the emission of 148 tonnes of CO2 equivalent.

Corporate welfare

In 2023, Florim continued to support employee health and wellbeing through a broad package of services, including free check-up programmes, discounts for specialist consultations and tests, free summer centres for employees’ children, distribution of fuel vouchers and much more. It provided more than 26,600 hours of technical, digital and health and safety training throughout the year. In 2023, Florim also launched its new whistleblowing portal, accessible to employees and external parties, for reporting violations, offences, conflicts of interest, legal non-compliance and breaches of the Code of Ethics and the Organisational Model to the Supervisory Board.

Goals for 2024

The 16th Sustainability Report also outlines Florim’s goals for 2024. These include:

  • the renewal of B Corp certification;
  • a 25% reduction in electricity consumption in the grinding department of Plant 1 in Fiorano;
  • collection of 5% more rainwater than in 2023;
  • the introduction of a new secondary raw material into the production cycle;
  • the use of new water-based materials for digital decoration;
  • the inclusion of new collections in the CarbonZero range;
  • the official adoption of agile working methods.

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