Five Italian companies become the first registered benefit corporations outside of the United States
We are very proud to announce that on the 26th OF FEBRUARY five Italian companies made their legal form a “benefit corporation”, the first benefit corporations outside of the United States. First introduced in the United States in 2010, over 3,000 companies have registered as benefit corporations in just 5 years, and the number is rapidly growing. Italy has become the first country in the world outside of the USA to establish this specific legal status after it was passed into law on December 23rd 2015.
For further information on the evolution of the Italian legislation we advise you to take a look at our previous blog post
“For decades the operating system of companies has been essentially the same. The for-profit paradigm was suitable for the needs of the 19th and 20th centuries. It is now essential, in this new century, to upgrade this system, and Benefit Corporations are a wonderful example of this evolution”, commented Marcello Palazzi, cofounder of B Lab Europe, who has been promoting Benefit Corporations and Certified B Corps in Europe since 2012.
“Entrepreneurs can now pursue the original aim of business: to create benefit and positive innovation not only for the individual company and its shareholders, but also for the community and the environment. This new legal status makes it possible to combine the original aim with profit-making, protecting the company’s mission in the medium-long term”, added senator Mauro Del Barba, who was the first to sign the bill on Benefit Corporations, which was converted into law at the end of 2015.
Benefit corporations represent a more advanced type of business, social and environmental benefits are embedded in their DNA. In just a few years, they have become one of the most studied economic phenomena. It triggers a positive competition between companies, whose actions are measured according to one common standard: the true benefit they create for society and nature, and not just the profit they make for their shareholders. Closely related to benefit corporations is the B Corp Certification which allows any company to measure their positive impact and find ways to impove it. This certification requires a comprehensive 3rd party evaluation of a company’s impact on its workers, community, and environment. Only companies that achieve a minimum verified score on their B Impact Assessment can then apply for B Corp Certification.
Benefit Corporations have been conceived and promoted since 2007 by the Global organization B Lab, and the community of Certified B Corps, which operate in 47 countries and in 130 different business sectors. Thousands of Certified B Corps and registered Benefit Corporations in the world represent a concrete, positive and scalable solution that creates value for society as a whole.
On February 26th, five Italian companies became the first benefit corporations in Italy. They are: D-Orbit (space safety), Dermophisiologique (cosmetics), Nativa (Future Fit Design), Croqqer.it (platform for sharing time and talent either paid or for free), and Mailwork (platform for sustainable energy requalification of buildings). D-Orbit, Dermophisiologique, and Nativa are also Certified B Corporations.
“The only types of companies that will survive will be Benefit Corporations”, stated Luca Rossettini, CEO of D-Orbit.
“It is essential to spread this new paradigm because it represents the only hope we have to face the challenges of the 21st century. We believe that in the future, turning to B Corps and Benefit Corporations for services and goods will be the obvious choice. The ability of a business to create durable prosperity whilst meeting the highest standards of social and environmental performance will, in the future, be the measure of its success. It’s only a matter of time”, commented Nativa’s cofounder Eric Ezechieli.
Paolo Di Cesare, cofounder of Croqqer.it, narrated how, “when founding Croqqer, we realised we didn't have a way to officially incorporate a social purpose to our profit-making aim. Today, our DNA has finally been officially recognised”.
“Today B Corps are a reality, paving the way, day by day, for a new kind of business, visible to all” declared Dermophisioloqique’s CEO, Loretta Pizio.
“On Tweegs.com, our commitment to society and the environment is translated into projects led by thousands of specialists aimed at saving energy. We are proud to be an Italian Benefit Corporation” stated Mailwork’s CEO and CFO Fernando and Fabrizio Feriozzi
Benefit corporations and Certified B Corporations are often confused. They share much in common and are complementary, but have a few important differences.Benefit corporations and Certified B Corporations are both leaders of a global movement to use business as a force for good. Both meet higher standards of accountability and transparency. Both create the opportunity to unlock our full human potential and creativity to use the power of business for the higher purpose of solving society's most challenging problems. The benefit corporation structure is useful on its own, whether or not a company decides to pursue certification, but here is how the benefit corporation structure relates to B Corp certification:
- The best way for corporations to meet the legal requirement for B Corp certification is to use the benefit corporation legal structure.
- B Lab, the nonprofit that certifies B Corps and that developed the benefit corporation structure, also offers benefit corporations a free reporting tool to meet their statutory transparency requirements using the B Impact Assessment.
- While many benefit corporations use the B Impact Assessment to create a free benefit report, benefit corporations do not need to reach a particular score, nor have their performance verified or audited by B Lab, or anyone else.
Benefit Corporations are for-profit companies that pursue profitability alongside social and environmental goals. Benefit corporations are legally bound to generate social benefits through their activities, consider impact to multiple stakeholders in their decision making processes, objectively assess their social and environmental impacts and be transparent about their performance. The directors of Benefit Corporations are accountable to the social benefit goals of the corporation as defined by its articles of incorporation.
Certified B Corps™ are for-profit companies certified by the non-profit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. A company has to meet a minimum performance benchmark aggregated across all categories to become certified. Today, there is a growing community of more than 1,600 Certified B Corps from 45 countries and over 130 industries working together toward 1 unifying goal: to use business as a force for good.
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