The 2020 edition of the Salone della CSR e dell’Innovazione Sociale [Corporate Social Responsibility and Social Innovation Fair] might have taken place on a predominantly virtual basis, but it still succeeded in confirming its status as a vital forum for dialogue around sustainability.
Way2Global founder and CEO Laura Gori had the honour of sharing her experience of building a Benefit Corporation during the event (#CRIS20), which is Italy’s foremost sustainability conference.
Joining us were many other companies that have decided to embark upon a journey of social and environmental sustainability. Like us, they saw in #CRIS20 – the theme of which was sustainable recovery – the perfect opportunity to meet likeminded businesspeople and trade ideas, projects and best practice.
This year’s event revealed how, in the wake of the global pandemic, companies of many different sizes and across many different sectors have been given a first-hand glimpse at the advantages of the B Corp model. Why? Because being a socially minded company makes you more resilient and enables you to create shared value, as part of a mutually dependent relationship with the community and the local area.
“Sustainability is the best promise we can make to future generations around the world.”
Matteo Colle, Communications Director, CAP Group
“The business world has now understood that Taylorism and that way of organising our work is now in the past. No longer can it make the most of the tacit knowledge that resides in each person and is the only thing that will allow companies to innovate.”
Stefano Zamagni, President, Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences
The COVID-19 emergency has also shown that it’s no longer possible for us to carry on with business as usual. The goal of sustainability must be shared by all and lead to tangible results as soon as possible. Though the pandemic has triggered a serious economic and social crisis, it has at least contributed to accelerating a change that we can no longer ignore if we want to guarantee our future.
There’s no doubt that companies need to be the key players in this change – but not alone.
“2020 has underlined the fact that the concept of sustainability is something we need to work on for the survival of the human race. As such, we need a business community.”
Antonella Tarsitano – Councillor, Cosenza Chamber of Commerce
“We must all work together. That means that consumers are a fundamental piece in the puzzle. We need to try to raise awareness among consumers, particularly the youngest generations.”
Riccardo Rossel, ManiTese
And who better to trigger change than Benefit Corporations? Perhaps that was the reason that the panel discussion we had the honour of contributing to had one of the biggest and participative audiences of the entire event.
“Benefit Corporations: how far have we come?” was a session designed for anyone intending to make this change. Though the importance of switching to this kind of business model now seems clear, discourse around the Benefit Corporation movement often overlooks both the advantages and the responsibilities involved.
Expertly moderated by Angelo Russo, on behalf of the Order of Chartered Accountants (ODCEC), the panel offered a clear, detailed overview of the Benefit Corporation model thanks to participation from AssoBenefit Director Raul Caruso, Maria Concetta Rizzo, an accountant and statutory auditor with the ODCEC in Milan, and two Benefit Corporations in the form of Chiesi Farmaceutici, represented by Mauro Ambanelli, and of course Way2Global, represented by our ever-enthusiastic CEO Laura Gori.
“Benefit Corporations are companies that have had a genetic reawakening and decided to make a positive impact.” Raul Caruso, AssoBenefit
“They take on the role of guiding society towards a new, regenerative economy – one that’s more inclusive and sustainable. It’s an economy that we need, as we’ve seen as a result of the pandemic and the grave social and environmental crises that preceded it.”
Maria Concetta Rizzo, ODCEC
“Benefit Corporations are legally obliged to assess their impact in a measurable, tangible way. It’s an official commitment which must be illustrated every year.”
Mauro Del Barba, President, Assobenefit
“Combining the legislative possibilities opened up by the Benefit Law with the processes required by Benefit Corporation certification allows companies to completely restructure, permanently incorporating sustainability into their business model.”
Mauro Ambanelli - Chiesi Farmaceutici
“There is an ethical motivation at the origin of our rebirth as a Benefit Corporation, which brings advantages including accelerated company processes, development and growth. Benefit Corporation status is a booster for business activities.”
Laura Gori, Founder & CEO, Way2Global Srl SB
As every year, taking part in the Corporate Social Responsibility and Social Innovation Fair as both speakers and spectators strengthened our belief in our commitment to sustainable business.
“Ethics are about actions, not words. Benefit Corporation status is a tool that all entrepreneurs have at their disposal to take tangible action and help to repair our dying world.”
Laura Gori, Founder & CEO di Way2Global Srl SB
As Piero Angale, who was representing RAI, a partner of the event for the very first time, said: “The challenge is more difficult now, but it is one we must absolutely rise to. More intelligence, innovation, technology, research and – most important of all – culture of change.”
We couldn’t agree more – it’s the only way to turn what is now a community into the new normal for our economy.
“What’s the future of sustainability? All companies adopting the Benefit model. The way I see the world, all companies must become sustainable.”
Laura Gori, Founder & CEO, Way2Global Srl SB