Being Benefit SocietiesFrancesco Bruno
Traditional corporations have as their sole purpose the pursuit of profitability.
Benefit companies, on the other hand, represent a more evolved paradigm of the business concept as they voluntarily combine the pursuit of economic productivity and sustainability, with the goal of creating value for stakeholders while making a positive impact on society and the Planet. (L. 28-12-2015 n. 208, Commi 376-384)
Benefit companies make explicit in their bylaws the purpose of social benefit they intend to pursue, appoint an impact manager, and measure their results in terms of positive influence on society and the environment with the same rigor adopted for economic and financial results.
They are required to report their achievements in a transparent manner through the preparation of an annual impact report describing the actions taken to pursue the social objectives set out in their bylaws and indicating their plans for future activities.
The model, introduced in Italy in 2016, inspired by the Benefit Corporations present in the U.S., has already been adopted by many Italian companies as it is recognized as an important vehicle for meeting the sustainability challenges of the future.
According to the Law, in order to be drafted, the impact report must include:
A description of the specific objectives, methods and actions implemented by the directors in pursuit of the goals of common benefit and any circumstances that have prevented or slowed it down; an assessment of the impact generated using the external assessment standard with the relevant areas and characteristics; and a section dedicated to describing the new objectives that the company wants to pursue in the next financial year.
The proper preparation and publication of the impact report becomes a key tool for Benefit Societies in order to fulfill their transparency obligations with respect to the creation of common benefit.
Why it is important to become (and remain) a Benefit Society
We live in an uncertain political, economic and social context that has definitively challenged the economic model of development, which had already entered a crisis since the second half of the 20th century, in which problems of resource scarcity were beginning to appear and awareness was growing about their progressive depletion.
Emerging as early as the late 1970s was the urgent need to devise a new model of sustainable economic development that would not lead to the total consumption of the planet’s resources..
It took many years to put the issue of sustainability at the center of world policies: currently the UN Agenda 2030 identifies 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Do you know all 17 SDGs? – YouTube with social, economic and environmental impacts. The agenda is universal, provides for everyone’s participation in change, and offers an integrated view of the problems and actions to achieve Sustainable Development.
In recent years, there has been a gradual increase in attention to a different, ethical and sustainable way of understanding business and investment.
IncreasinglyESG (Environmental, Social, Governance), a set of critweia for measuring organizations’ impact on the environment, stakeholder relations, good governance practices andsustainable approach to Investments, is being adopted.
These criteria are strongly interrelated and, in the evaluation of an organization, they complement the traditional economic and financial parameters, providing elements for a more comprehensive and useful analysis for attracting investment capital.
All of this is summed up, even at the regulatory level, in the purpose of becoming a benefit corporation, which is therefore, is a sustainable choice that brings value for all of the company’s stakeholders, customers and suppliers, talent, shareholders and management.
Other benefits of becoming a Benefit Corporation relate to enhanced reputation as it helps create concrete benefits for the company and increased attractiveness to young talent. For young people today, the value of sustainability is highly felt and sought after.
Ambire is a Benefit Society
Ambire has chosen to become a Benefit Company to generate sustainable impact through SDGs 4, 5 and 8 that guide it, contributing to the innovation and dissemination of a new organizational, managerial and individual culture that fosters the enhancement of people’s skills and performance for more and better professional employment opportunities, orientation to young people in the labor market, the enhancement and inclusion and diversity, the life-work balance of People and the increase of the employment rate.
The need for new digital and behavioral soft skills aimed at renewed leadership is the fertile ground on which we can impact by orienting organizations and people to sustainable change through the assessment, development and certification of skills with a view to continuous innovative improvement.
Ambire became a Benefit Corporation in 2020 and subsequently appointed a Certified Sustainability Manager to carry out the goals and draft the 2021 brochure relazione d’impatto 2021 – Ambire. The result achieved, measured through the BIA method went beyond the highest expectations (more than 90%). Although we at Ambire Benefit Society strive every day to pursue a common benefit for all stakeholders we know that we can always do better and our effort for the future is devoted to improving the impact on Community and Environment keeping the focus on points 4, 5 and 8 of the UN 2030 Agenda that, day after day, push us to give our best for what we do: Search and Selection, Training, Coaching, Consulting, and accompanying companies towards transformation into Benefit Societies.
Our next step in continuing to invest in sustainable engagement is to become certified as Bcorp: an international certification that identifies companies that, in addition to having profit goals, meet the highest standards of social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability.