Public Participation in Developing a Common Framework for the Assessment and Management of Sustainable Innovation

When sustainability becomes a driver of innovation: the case of Last Minute Sotto Casa

When sustainability becomes a driver of innovation: the case of Last Minute Sotto Casa
17.07.2015 | Mattia Martini

Six hundred and fifty billion euro…this is the amount of money wasted every year in the form of food. More than a billion tons of good food products, almost 150 kilos per person, is thrown away every year. Even if in recent years there has been an increasing effort of industries and supermarkets to donating food to associations, communities and people who are most in need of food, food waste is still a persistent problem. According to Francesco Ardito and Massimo Ivul, collaboration is key to solving the problem. They have launched a start-up of “Last Minute Sotto CASA” in 2013. The concept has already been welcomed by many cities in Italy.

Last Minute Sotto Casa [Last Minute Downstairs] aims at benefitting food buyers and sellers, as well as the overall sustainability of our planet. Instead of throwing away food that cannot be sold the next day, bakeries, pastry shops, butchers, fish shops and small neighbourhood super markets can offer their food products at a discounted price, thus making profit instead of throwing away those food products. Last Minute Sotto CASA brings sellers and buyers together. After registering on the website, sellers and buyers are geo-localized so that buyers receive offers of registered food products at discounted prices which are close to their home or workplace. The public data seems to be quite encouraging . While initially started as an experiment in March 2014 and initially applied only in one neighbourhood in Turin and one food product (bread), Last Minute Sotto Casa reached already many cities in Italy today and may diffuse to other cities in Europe. Today, the network consists already of more than 200 shops and about 30 thousand registered users. In the near future, Francesco and Massimo are planning to launch a mobile application. With a mobile application, customers will be able to discover promotions and arrange a diner at half a price.

Last Minute Sotto Casa is really a positive story: everyone wins. The shopkeeper wins, not wasting food products and also gaining something; the customer wins, buying fresh food products and saving money; and also the planet wins because we consume more consciously and acknowledge that natural resources offered by the Earth are not infinite. Last Minute Sotto Casa can be considered as an example of how sustainability becomes a driver of innovation and innovative business models. Much attention is paid now to the economic sustainability of the initiative. The founders are actually looking for new investors, who believe in the project growth potential (in terms of subscribers) and expansion beyond the national borders.


Relevant themes: Public participation, Sustainable innovation, Environment
Relevant tags: Sustainability, Eco-innovation, Sustainable lifestyles


  • Mattia Martini - Universita’ degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca (Interuniversity Research Centre for Public Services, University of Milano – Bicocca), (UNIMIB)

    Mattia Martini

    Mattia Martini is Post-doc fellow in Management and Organization at the University of Milano-Bicocca. His main research interests relate to labour organization and human resource management, with particular reference to social and personal services, and a focus on human capital development.