On July 16, 2020, the Italian B Corp members met virtually for the first digital Italian B Corp Summit, which involved 1,300 participants.
We of Way2Global, as a B Corp established as a Benefit Corporation, took active and enthusiastic part in it, and effectively contributed to the success of this epochal event.
Our highly efficient interpreter facilitated the involvement of international guests of such caliber as Katie Hill, Chair of B Lab Europe and Board Member of B Lab, Evelyn Doyle, Head of the HR EMEA of Patagonia, Jay Coen Gilbert, co-Founder of B Lab and Executive co-Chair of Imperative 21, and Juan Pablo Larenas, Executive Director of B Lab Global and co-Founder of Sistema B.
Our live tweeting made it possible for anyone who could not sign up or attend the event still to follow it through our social channels.
An afternoon session moderated by our Founder & CEO Laura Gori on the theme of the Benefit Corporation saw the participation of exceptional speakers: Member of Parliament Mauro Del Barba, noble father of the legislation on Benefit Corporations in Italy, and three Made in B(enefit) Italy companies such as Alessi, Number 1 and Assimoco, each with its own heritage and experience in a great diversity of markets and industries.
It was an honor and a pleasure for us to moderate this panel, which allowed us to recount our case of business conversion, and show how the rebirth of a company as a Benefit Corporation is a regenerating experience and a treasure trove of development, growth and energizing passion.
“To marry this revolutionary business model allows entrepreneurs like us to take care of people and the environment, transform our companies into generators of value for society, and put the power of business at the service of the common good — in other words, doing business with the heart and not with the wallet.” (Laura Gori)
A day full of inspirational content, in the name of a common goal: to define, with our contributions, experience and collective intelligence, the key that can unlock the change.
Interest in a new way of doing business, healthier and more socially and environmentally sustainable, has recently become mainstream at the international level.
From the letter by Larry Flint, CEO of BlackRock, to the declarations of the Business Roundtable last August, up to the Green Deal and to the EU’s Taxonomy Regulation and Sustainable Finance, it finally seems that the world, both public and private, is moving toward a new line of thinking.
COVID-19 has contributed to a fast acceleration of this trend in Italy and around the world, with an exponential increase in companies that want to use their business as a lever for the common good. Among the most recent examples of conversion into Benefit Corporations are Illy Caffè, WeTransfer, and the newly formed Benefit joint-venture of CDP and SNAM.
During a historical moment like the current one, we Italian B Corp companies, pioneers of sustainable change, were eager to meet each other, discuss with one other, exchange ideas and share all our enthusiasm and the passion that unites us, to give further impetus to the transformation of the economic system.
“The desire to move forward despite everything has allowed us to create this virtual edition, because change can no longer wait!” (Michele Dotti)
It has been, in fact, the pandemic itself which has taught us that we have the energy to see this change through.
“If the current economic model is a virus, the B Corp model is the vaccine we need.” (Eric Ezekili)
This meeting has been long awaited by our entire B community, but also by those who don’t yet belong to it: Even the main national newspapers have presented full-page reports on it, to expand the virtuous circle and involve more and more companies, institutions and citizens in a challenge that must belong to society as a whole.
A challenge that our country is proud to be guiding as a leader, thanks to its history of civil economy, a tradition of sustainable entrepreneurship, if we think of Olivetti, and the primacy of having been the first sovereign nation in the world to have introduced a law on Benefit Corporations in 2016.
#UnlockTheChange becomes our — and your — next step: not just to discuss and list critical issues, but work to find constructive, innovative solutions to them.
But what is the key that opens the door to change?
“Today’s objectives, the sustainability goals of the UN 2030 Agenda, for example, can never be achieved by the public or private sector alone. Humanity’s great challenges require joint collaboration between the two spheres, which must transform their relationship. This movement must become a social change.” (Mariana Mazzuccato)
“In this historical moment it becomes essential to abandon arrogance and embrace collaboration.” (Juan Pablo Larenas)
“Since all social and environmental issues are interconnected, so should our efforts be to solve them.We need a movement of us.” (Zucconi)
“What was possible yesterday is necessary today: Rethinking the system becomes an absolute imperative. To unlock this change, the key is collaboration.” (Gilbert)
Today is the best time to change: Put to the test by a global pandemic, we have discovered our vulnerability, but also our strength. We have absolute proof that doing business according to a different and better paradigm is not just a dream, but a concrete possibility that is just waiting to be embraced.
And in the post-COVID period that made a clean slate of the previous world, the future is ready to written once again.
“Change is ready and waiting: There are people, ideas and energy for it. Our task is to unlock it. Free it from obstacles, from doubts, from reticence. Let it escape from the confines that have enclosed it for far too long. Let’s open the door to a new business idea. UnlockTheChange” (unlockthechange.it).
However, a change of this magnitude cannot be unlocked without others. That’s why our community works in interdependence and works in a system. Collaboration, exchange and communication are the lever to drive change.
And the power of inspiration can only come from the lever of business, which moves the economy, and that is the only transformational force that can repair our devastated planet and transform it into a more sustainable, inclusive and responsible world.
Plan(et) B exists. Together we will reach it.