Sustainable Development Goals

WMF for a Sustainable Growth

A tangible commitment to sustainable development for the environment, economy, and society defines one of the core values of the WMF's mission.

Since its earliest editions, the Festival has aimed to inspire and create advanced solutions capable of responding to major global issues, constantly referring to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the action program developed by ONU in 2015.

These principles are essential guidelines for our work, carried out with the approach of open dialogue and global collaboration together with a multiplicity of different players from all over the world. We work through the diffusion of the culture of innovation across many different paths, involving personalities who encourage reflection and analysis, supporting territories and communities in their journey towards innovation and development, and offering a platform to categories or causes often downplayed as marginal, and, above all, educating communities to harness the many tools provided by innovation and digital advancement, to build a collective better future.

Many personalities have accompanied us on this journey to date, not least the Minister of Sustainable Infrastructures and Mobility Enrico Giovannini, the Education Minister Patrizio Bianchi, Emilia-Romagna Region Vice President Elly Schlein, and several referents of ASViS - Italian Alliance for Sustainable Development.

See below some of the events and initiatives through which we pursue the Sustainable Development Goals, and contact us by filling out the form below if you want to take part in their implementation.

WMF for the 2030 Agenda

Ending world hunger, achieving food security, improving overall sustenance and promoting sustainable agriculture

During the past editions, WMF has been focused on the impact that digital transformation and innovation had on more traditional industries such as the agri-food sector. In 2018 the Festival hosted an entire panel dedicated to the Food supply chain: Andrea Segrè, president of Fondazione FICO and professor of International and Comparative Agricultural Policy at the University of Bologna, spoke about access to food and how reaching sustainable goals in the sector will be achievable through digital innovation.

For the occasion, thanks to the collaboration with Fondazione FICO, was also established the Digital Food WMF Award, aimed at the companies and realities that distinguish themselves in harnessing digital tools towards environmental sustainability: the award was assigned to Whirlpool and ActionAid Italia for the best innovative communication campaign in the food industry.

Also in 2018, Pio's restaurant was set up inside the WMF area to support the Festival's fundraising campaign.

Guaranteeing health and well-being for everyone of all ages

The right to health, access to health services, and quality treatments are essential elements for any society caring for collective well-being. To contribute to the achievement of this goal, the WMF has always operated as a tool for society by dedicating itself to informing and giving a platform to complicated situations and socio-health care projects, involving multiple social players throughout the process, from public opinion to Institutions. Every year the Festival supports important actions to help make health a right for all. This happens through various charity endeavors, ranging from fundraising in collaboration with entities such as the Veronesi Foundation and ASROO, to awareness and communication campaigns, such as the one carried out for Cystic Fibrosis Research with the song "A Pieno Respiro" by Domenico Peronace.

Since 2020 in particular, the Festival has started to tell the story of Pasqualino, Serena, and Saverio Genovese, an Italian family struggling for five years with the shortcomings of the regional health service, to mobilize the institutions and obtain justice for Pasquale and all the people who, like him, do not enjoy a full right to care and health. The family also continued to recount their vicissitudes during WMF2021, where they were able to interface with Minister Bianchi, who personally mobilized to support them in building a more accessible and inclusive schooling system.

Also in 2020, from the beginning of the Covid-19 emergency, the WMF has been active with numerous initiatives aimed at providing social support in such a problematic period. On World Health Day, April 7th, 2020, with the international online event Start The Future, the Festival brought together innovators, researchers, scientists, and doctors from all over the world to identify, in global digital cooperation, useful solutions to address the socio-health issues emerged.

Among the guests and projects described were Giorgio Metta of the Italian Institute of Technology, startup ISINNOVA, architect Carlo Ratti with the CURE Project, and Felice Iavernaro and Luigi Brugnaro with a forecasting model of pandemic data.

In the 2021 edition, the Festival continued to support scientific information and research by hosting guests on the Mainstage such as Gino Strada, founder of Emergency, Nino Cartabellotta of GIMBE Foundation, and Giacomo Gorini, an immunologist at the Jenner institute in Oxford.

WMF 2022 hosted once again Nino Cartabellotta to assess the conditions of the National Health System, and Giorgio Metta who presented the latest projects of the IIT, echoed by the voices of Elly Schlein and Daniele Pucci, who reiterated the importance of a shared purpose between politics and research, to foster collective well-being. Content creator and influencer Giorgia Soleri was also present at the Festival, recounting her personal experience with a misdiagnosed chronic illness, and her social commitment, emphasizing the right to healthcare for all.

Ensuring inclusive education for all and promoting lifelong quality learning opportunities

Fostering quality education is essential to support the present and future development of any country. From this awareness, education has always been at the core of WMF: in the past edition, more than 700 trainers and speakers, and guests from all over the world.

In the 2021 edition, Minister of Education Patrizio Bianchi and the Director of the Digital Library of the Ministry of Culture Laura Moro, spoke within the more than 77 thematic rooms, and also on the Mainstage, creating a unique educational program on the themes of social and digital innovation

The Minister of Education, Patrizio Bianchi, made a personal commitment to support Pasqualino and his family in building a more inclusive and accessible school that is structured and developed to the needs of people with different grades of disabilities, securing the right to education for every young person.

In 2020, during the Covid-19 emergency, to support and spread training opportunities during the Lockdown period, WMF created difefrent initiatives, such as #AzioniamoLaMente, which made more than 400 hours of free digital training available to all, concretely supporting thousands of professionals and companies during a challenging time. To provide support to teachers and professors with the DAD (virtual schooling system), WMF activated Internet for Teachers, a free initiative aimed at training school professionals in the use of digital tools for online teaching. 

It is fundamental for WMF to get involved with education and training, students and young people: the future of society. From this reason stemmed the WMF Youth, with incubators and initiatives such as the WMF LAB, Digital for Sport and the Startup Competition Young, projects aimed at bringing young people closer to innovation and digital, providing them with the tools they need to cope with a rapidly changing work environment and training them for a conscious and sustainable use of digital tools in the future. In addition, during the three-day festival, several school groups are involved in dedicated educational and training courses.

WMF 2022 also hosted the European Parliament's Europeans For Future Hackathon: several teams made of young people and students worked on creating communication campaigns on major European programs and pitched their creative outputs to the Festival audience.

Achieving gender equality through the empowerment of women and young girls

Gender equality is a prerequisite for ensuring strong and stable growth, both for the economy and for society as a whole. Although the world has made progress toward women's empowerment, women in STEM are still underrepresented. Intending to build an inclusive and diverse society that values the contribution of everyone, the WMF has been promoting Women in Tech: the initiative aimed at enhancing the contribution of women in the ICT universe.

During WMF 2022, Matilde Spoldi and Annamaria Tartaglia spoke about entrepreneurship and women's empowerment; Eleonora TubaldiMara PomettiMarina Geymonat, and Roberta Russo brought their experience in the scientific research sector. On the Mainstage, different issues between gender-based discrimination, innovation, and the next future were addressed by Linda SarsourVera GhenoMarie Campagne, and Elisabetta Giuffrida.

In previous editions, Chiara CocchiaraAnna GrassellinoMaria FossatiAlessandra SciuttiMelanie Rieback, and Luisa Rizzo are among the experts who have shared their knowledge with thousands of participants directly from the WMF Mainstage.

The Festival's commitment to supporting women's empowerment goes on with the HUBitat project, the network of innovation and sustainability Hubs, and with the Italian Roadshow, the WMF event that activates throughout Italy events aimed at training tomorrow's women professionals and entrepreneurs.

Facilitating a long-lasting, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and dignified work for all

The digital revolution has, and continues to, change the employment market, creating new opportunities and just as many challenges. For this reason, the WMF works on multiple levels, through training and ad hoc educational projects, to improve digital skills, encourage entrepreneurial spirit and create new career opportunities by operating as a connector between individual professionals and corporate realities. 

WMF offers different initiatives and networking events: from Italy's largest Startup Competition to the Digital Job Fair, the Digital Job Placement, and the Digital Skills Assessment, the first national assessment on digital skills.

Thanks to its constant commitment, WMF is now a member of the European Union's "Digital Skills and Job Coalition", the project that brings together the best international entities with the aim of addressing the problem of digital skills shortages in Europe, and making Europeans "conscious digital citizens".

Through its parent company Search On Media Group, and with the involvement of the Associazione Italia Digitale, the Festival is committed to improving working conditions in the digital industry by connecting the various decision-makers and social partners. The proper regulation of digital professions is a key issue for the WMF community, and during the last edition, the dialogue between political representatives and trade union institutions, experts from the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy, and Content Creators continued. The debate led to the presentation by Hon. Valentina Barzotti, and its subsequent approval, of the Content Creators Amendment: with the advancement of the DDL Concorrenza, the Content Creators Amendment becomes a reality: the Italian government will officially acknowledge the professional figure of the digital content creator.

Building resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and supporting innovation

Building resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and supporting innovation

Investing in infrastructure, scientific and technological research, and promoting innovative, diverse, and sustainable processes is essential to foster economic growth and achieve the well-being of society as a whole. WMF was born from this awareness: the Festival that has become a powerhouse for digital and social innovation throughout Italy, making all-around innovation the driving force behind all its activities. 

The Festival's ongoing commitment is aimed, in particular, at the creation of a solid network among people, companies, schools, universities, NPOs, institutions, and territories, with the involvement of cities, towns, and local communities. Multiple Italian and international actors cooperate to build, through digital and social innovation, a better future for all.

Among the cooperation activities aimed at spreading innovation, Search On Media Group, the parent company of WMF, has established the Associazione Italia Digitale, a network of cooperation among multiple players, started to promote and coordinate initiatives to make the contribution of Italian innovation a relevant one.

Reducing inequalities

Inclusion, hospitality, and accessibility are pivotal themes that revolve around several endeavors of WMF, a Festival that makes inclusion an essential value. Since its beginning, WMF has been pursuing the cancellation of all kinds of barriers, physical and virtual, through initiatives, communications, and awareness campaigns aimed at reducing existing inequalities. 

The last edition of the Festival reiterated the importance of these issues together with human rights activists Linda SarsourSiyabulela Mandela, and professor at the Durban University of Tech in South Africa Savo Heleta. With content creator and writer Giorgia Soleri, we then touched base on the issue of accessibility to diagnosis and treatment for all, while with the Vice-President of the Emilia Romagna Region Elly Schlein, we discussed the need to lead the digital transformation and ecological transition in a re-distributive sense, to foster inclusion and social cohesion. On the Mainstage, awards were offered to Benedetta De Luca for her work on her social platforms about feminism and body positivity, and to Frolla Lab, the artisanal cookie workshop that employs young people with different disabilities.

Maria Chiara Andriello and Rosa Coscia of Rai Accessibility and Rai Public Utility discussed the need to offer communication that is accessible to all, including people with sensory disabilities, not only on National TV but also on the web and social media. Also speaking in the 2022 edition were Franco Lisi, general director of INVAT, and Sabato De Rosa, of the Institute for Blind Persons "Francesco Cavazza".

Inspirational speeches given by lecturers with sensory disabilities, such as Consuelo AgnesiIlaria Galbusera, and Serena Rosario Conte of the Ente Nazionale Sordi, interviews with Roberto Saviano and Domenico Lucano, short films such as Frontier by Alessandro di Gregorio, and the film Non Odiare by Mauro Mancini, and documentaries on Riace, city of hospitality, talks with Francesca Vecchioni and Gloria Ficili, confrontation with Siyabulela Mandela and Franco Vaccari of Rondinecittadella della pace, as well as the simultaneous translation into LIS of all speeches and musical performances and concerts on the Mainstage by RAI Accessibility, are some examples of a substantial commitment carried out, together with our community, over the years.

You can learn more about WMF's work related to this Development Goal on the pages dedicated to WMF's commitment to Inclusion and Accessibility initiatives. 

Making cities and all human settlements inclusive, safe, durable, and sustainable

Industrialization and technology have posed many challenges to the urban environment, today's ever-changing landscape. In this context, it is necessary to understand how to manage and accommodate transformation to ensure sustainable and inclusive urbanization. Among the related activities proposed inside the Festival, there are award ceremonies and various speeches, including talks held by Italian architect Mario Cucinella and urban planner and university professor Maurizio Carta on the resilience of augmented cities, and the need to conceive the future cities with a cathedral thinking.

The WMF2021 Mainstage saw two working tables on the PNRR with a focus on the action plan for the future of Italian cities, featuring guests such as Federico Pizzarotti (Mayor of Parma) and Chiara Appendino (Mayor of Turin), and a talk focused on UNESCO Creative Cities.

Aware of the importance of innovation as a tool for inclusive and sustainable construction, the WMF works concretely throughout the country, creating virtuous synergies with metropolitan cities, boroughs, and small local communities, to support their development from an innovative and sustainable perspective.

In the same direction, the Italian Roadshow and the Borghi e Digitale project were born in 2020, integrating the Borghi 2040 and Road To Internet initiatives, aimed at promoting and supporting technological, digital, and social innovation in small towns, within local communities of all extents, throughout the country.

Promoting actions, at all levels, to tackle climate change

The fight against climate change is the ultimate challenge of our times, an increasingly topical issue affecting the whole world. For several years, the WMF has been engaged in substantial activities to address climate risks and raise awareness of environmental protection. Pierre-Philippe Mathieu of the European Space AgencyAnilkumar Dave of the Italian Space Agency, climatologist Luca MercalliEleonora Cogo of the Euro Mediterranean Climate Change Center as well as Marco Casula and Mauro Mazzola of the CNR or Siyabulela Mandela with Savo Heleta, Professor at the Durban University of Tech in South Africa, are some of the guests who allowed us to address this topic at WMF. 

The Italian Minister of Sustainable Infrastructure and Mobility, Enrico Giovannini, who, in the 2021 edition, introduced the working table on the PNRR dedicated to the ecological transition that involved guests such as Matteo Tanzilli of Assosharing and Gianni Pietro Girotto (chairman of the Senate Industry Committee). Sustainability was a joint thread throughout the three-day event, which also involved several institutional figures, such as Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Luigi Di MaioEmilia Romagna Regional Vice President Elly SchleinUndersecretary at the Italian Ministry of Economic Development Anna Ascani and Giuseppe Iacono, of the Italian Ministry's Department for Digital Transformation and Technological Innovation.

Raising awareness of climate change among the general public at the Festival were several artistic and musical performances by the group of young deaf dancers The Silent Beat, percussionists Psychodrummer, and very special artists made from recycled materials: the robot-only group One Love Machine, the robot pianist Teotronico, and RoBidone, the machine teaching recycling in schools.

You can check out all of WMF's initiatives in this direction on the Sustainability page.

Peace, justice and solid institutions

The WMF strongly promotes and addresses the issue of Legality and the fight against Mob and criminal organizations. We believe that responsibility, commitment, education, and culture are the foundations on which to build a corruption-free society that can guarantee and preserve the freedom of all. For years we have been talking about responsibility, promoting legality, and cultivating this conversation also through the web because digital can and must be a tool to fight Mob, able to activate an important and effective social impact.

During the 2022 edition, leading exponents in the fight against organized criminality took turns on the Mainstage, such as Italian Public Prosecutor Nicola Gratteri, who spoke about the entrenchment of mafia culture throughout Europe, and the factors that can help contain it, or DIA director Maurizio Vallone, who illustrated the new criminal activities within digital spaces, still unexplored and poorly regulated. Once again on the WMF stage were actor and director Pif and Mimmo Lucano, the former presented together with Tiziano di Cara and Andrea Delmonte the ilLegal project, a diary that tells children the stories of those who have fought the mafia; the latter explained together with his lawyers Andrea Daqua and Giuliano Pisapia the developments and controversies of the trial against him.

Journalists from l'Espresso Lirio Abbate and Floriana Bulfon, Repubblica journalist Federica Angeli, anti-Mob Italian prosecutor Giuseppe LombardoLuisa Impastato, niece of Italian activist against the Mob Peppino ImpastatoAngelo Corbo and Giovanni Paparcuri - survivors of the assassination attempts on Giovanni Falcone and Rocco Chinnici - and the Regeni family are just some of the great voices that have helped us, over the years, to convey the message of peace, justice, and legality.

In 2020, to renew its stance against all forms of hate, the WMF has activated - together with Chi Odia Paga - a call for projects against online hate and a legal web desk, aimed at countering the spread of hate online and concretely supporting the victims of this misuse of digital tools.

Partnership for the Goals

Since the beginning of its journey, the WMF has identified cooperation among multiple players as one of the founding elements of its work and vision.

Aware that widespread and inclusive collaboration, built on shared values and common visions has always been necessary to achieve development goals, WMF engages as a tool for society and a connector between ecosystems, operating as an accelerator of culture, education, innovation, and entrepreneurship. Throughout the year, it promotes and develops initiatives aimed at creating together with people, schools and universities, companies, and startup NPOs and institutions (Italian and international) new opportunities for sustainable growth and development, useful for building a better future.

In this perspective of global cooperation, on April 7, 2020, amid the national lockdown, Start The Future took place, the first international online event aimed at identifying, through digital cooperation, solutions to cope with some of the rising problems caused by the emergency. Subsequently, two hackathons were also held in collaboration with the European Parliament, with the participation of Vice-President Fabio Massimo Castaldo and MEP Brando Benifei.

From the training and skills enhancement of professionals, students, and young people, to support the digital transformation processes of SMEs and PA, or those of innovation and digitization of villages and small towns, or the involvement of the WMF ecosystem in structuring proposals to be shared and discussed with the Institutions, or even the commitment in promoting the development of global and multilateral partnerships that mobilize and share knowledge, skills, and technologies: each of the initiatives conceived and implemented by the Festival and its parent company Search On Media Group, over the years stems from a single goal, of actively cooperating globally to build a better future, for all.

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JUNE 5 · 6 · 7, 2025
WMF - We Make Future

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