CREAM – The first nail drove it into the rock in 1984, starting the climb towards Everest of cosmetics. That is to say the ascension crowned, in recent days, by the appointment as Cavaliere del Lavoro and corroborated by a 2019 budget of 104 million euros. «And to think that at the beginning, in Pandino, there were 3 of us in 300 square meters». Now, 65 years old, the employees of Renato Ancorotti They are 300 square meters and are those of the Olivetti warehouses which, half a century ago, with the recruitment campaign changed the lives of hundreds of families from Cremona. The storm of Coronavirus it has hit hard even those who “produce beauty”, but the makeup industrialist looks beyond. With optimism: «Now, with the vaccination campaign starting to be constant, there is a regrowth. We hope it will consolidate. There is a desire for normality and therefore also for well-being. I am convinced that Italian entrepreneurs will make it, as always ». And if the business, those that enrich the turnover, take it far; there is still the water of the Serio in the veins of the former city councilor for culture, who sat both at the benches of the hall of the hostages, and in the provincial council. A link, that with the city, not only declined in the political-administrative commitment, but also and above all in the industrial one. From the first creation, the Gamma Croma of which it sold the shares in 2009, up to the present one Ancorotti Cosmetics, the center of gravity has always remained in the shadow of the Torrazzo.
A degree in Quality Control from the Faculty of Pharmacy of the University of Novara, obtained after the scientific high school diploma, the Rotarian vocation earned a mandate to the presidency of the Crema Club but also the Paul Harris Fellow honor; before bringing the number of Cavalieri del Lavoro in the province of Cremona to four, Ancorotti already sported the Commendatore pin on his jacket collar, during the meetings of Cosmetics Italy. That is, the branch of the Confindustria sector of which he is president; as well as boasting a seat on the Federchimica national council. The one baptized with the family surname and molded with her daughter Enrica is now one of the first companies in the production of beauty products for third parties, with 90% of customers across the border. Where the term “foreign” is not only synonymous with Europe, but above all with the United States of America. From his office where the paintings on the walls refer to the past and the windows to the future, he looks at what were once the Olivetti warehouses and makes no secret of the pride of having “mended an urban wound”, recovering abandoned spaces and making it its industrial center, in what is now the Via del Commercio.
Doctor Ancorotti, how do you see the horizon of cosmetics after the Coronavirus hurricane?
“I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but it’s certainly not the glow of a boom. We expect growth, which this year can bring the company close to the 2019 budget. But in the sector, there are also those who deal with hygiene and therefore have not suffered. Using certain products makes us feel good. Of course, there is the essential: just think of the toothpaste; but there is also another form of essentiality: to feel good about ourselves. And be more serene in the relationship with others, thanks to cosmetics. A sector like ours is not good for the country just for the numbers it records. But also and above all as a flagship of Made in Italy, although it is a bit forgotten. We do good to people: we have non-profit organizations, within our world, with operators who go to hospitals to make up women who have suffered the insult of cancer. And let’s not forget the research: there are 30,000 scientists in Europe who work for cosmetics ».
On the economic side, what is the value of the sector you represent within Confindustria?
“In 2019, we were around 12 and a half billion in Italy; but the entire supply chain reaches 33 “.
If the beauty industry looks to tomorrow with optimism, how does it assess the Italian business system after Covid as a whole?
“After this tragedy, there is a unique opportunity: that of removing the ties and ties of the bureaucracy. And that doesn’t mean being able to do what you want, but simply not having to deal with biblical times for certification. They check us all the time, but at least they don’t block us. If a process, with us, lasts for years and years, who from abroad will be able to invest in Italy? With the fear of getting entangled in these situations. The entrepreneur needs certainties, at all levels ».
The problem of the scarcity of raw materials is spreading on a global scale, how can it be addressed?
«They are missing because someone, you see China, bought them up. There is a lot of talk about sustainability … As far as we are concerned, like Ancorotti Cosmetics we have not built an extra square meter, but on the contrary healed the urbanistic wound of the former Olivetti. Mending, after all, is also Renzo Piano’s philosophy. Entrepreneurs must be found who have the courage to mend. Today, everything is sustainability, but Europe is responsible for spilling only 0.35% of the plastic found in the oceans into the sea. While everything else comes from the Chinese, African and Indian rivers. What we can do directly is to heal 0.35%. But trade agreements are needed with the countries that pollute the most, in which the issue is dealt with seriously. Otherwise, it’s like treating a cold and not dealing with cancer. The Pastic tax is nonsense, because it does not provide funds to help companies in the transformation. It is not a purpose tax, which fuels research to eliminate residues ».
Sustainability has become a mantra, but isn’t the matter too vast to be included in a term?
“Exact. Under the banner of sustainability we talk about everything and the opposite of everything, we need to have clear objectives “.
Europe has not always seemed to take the direction desired by Italian companies, do you see a change of course in the new course of the EU Commission?
“I believe that the EU is fundamental, but we need to have a unity of purpose greater than that of today. The interests of each nation must merge with that of Europe. Something needs to be reviewed, therefore; but I have complete confidence that things will work out. But we need a strong Italy. There are countries with labor costs that do not allow competition: it is not acceptable if you want a true Europe ».
What would you ask the government, at this moment, not only for the cosmetics sector, but for the Italian economy?
«A de-bureaucratization and not just for the industry. We have blown great chances for a certificate ».
What do you think about the freeze on layoffs?
«Initially it was a duty: he buffered the situation. But today it risks being a tie that holds us back. Little has been done to address the situation: what program has the state drawn up for those who will leave the labor market? This is the real issue ».
Does the company also have a social responsibility? «Of course, we have to go back to promoting entrepreneurs like Adriano Olivetti. He talked about Welfare in the 1940s. ‘If others can see what I have seen, then we can call it a vision rather than a dream,’ he often said. Was he a visionary? Yes, but with the vision you realize better what you have in mind. Often successful industries, on the other hand, tend to sit on their laurels and do not innovate. Complacency sinks businesses.
Francesco Buzzella towards the regional guide of Confindustria and Riccardo Crotti at the top of Confagricoltura Lombardia, Cremaschi increasingly protagonists?
«Congratulations to President Crotti for his election and as regards his friend Francesco, let’s not forget that Lombardy is the locomotive of Italy and being at the top of the regional Confindustria is even more prestigious. In both cases, a satisfaction for our city ».