Andrea Illy awarded Leonardo Prize for promotion of Italy’s image worldwide
Illycaffè chairman Andrea Illy has been awarded the 2019 Leonardo Prize, which a broad panel of qualified jurors gives out every year to an Italian or foreign personality who contributed significantly to promoting and burnishing Italy’s image abroad.
Illy has always focused his commitment along two key vectors: sustainability as corporate culture and in favor of the coffee and agricultural sectors; and Made in Italy as a symbol of excellence to increase the country’s competitiveness.
Andrea Illy was awarded for his work as an entrepreneur, as a staunch supporter of the stakeholder company and of corporate responsibility in building a better society.
A “humanist chemist”, as he is often defined, he led illycaffè’s internationalisation while innovating its processes, its culture, and its quest for quality. Today, the illy brand is recognised worldwide for its sustainable quality and its ceaseless support for the world of culture and contemporary art, which it has made available to everyone thanks to the iconic illy Art Collection espresso cups.
An Ambassador of ‘Made in Italy’, during his presidency of the Altagamma Foundation (2013 – 2019) and through his book Italia Felix, Andrea Illy has promoted Italy’s wealth and talents worldwide, highlighting its quest for perfection, the striving for innovation and the creativity inherited thanks to three millennia of beauty and culture.
“I am honoured to have received this very important recognition,” comments Andrea Illy, “Which is very gratifying and which encourages me even more to cultivate my dream of a society that cares for the well-being of people and for the preservation of the environment. What makes ‘Made in Italy’ goods excellent – which is beautiful, good, and well-made – goes hand-in-hand with building a sustainable business model that can generate value for the present and preserve it for future generations. Through our work at illycaffè I will redouble my efforts to promote Italy’s image around the world.”
Andrea Illy says he believes that happiness is a prerequisite for any transition towards a more sustainable and regenerative socio-economic model, so much so that in 2019, when illycaffè adopted benefit corporation status, he institutionalised this commitment. Together with the Ernesto Illy Foundation, of which he is one of the founders, and thanks to important public-private partnerships with local and international institutions, it supports numerous projects for the development of coffee community and the creation of sustainable value chains in producing countries. These activities are the concrete implementation of illycaffè’s philosophy and strategy, and indeed, in 2021 it was the first Italian coffee company to obtain B-Corp certification.
A scholar and an expert in climate change with decades of experience, since 2018 Andrea Illy has been developing a model of ‘virtuous agriculture’ that sequesters atmospheric carbon by enriching soils with organic matter, while growing healthful produce.
The awards ceremony for the 2019 Leonardo Prize (which had originally been scheduled for 2020) took place today at Palazzo Barberini in Rome, in the presence of the President of the Republic.