Italian Parliament approves Benefit Corporation legal status
For Immediate Release
Rome, December 22nd, 2015
The Italian Parliament approves the Benefit Corporation law:
Italy becomes the first country outside the USA to allow companies to register as Benefit Corporations
B Lab and its country partner in Italy Nativa, the first Certified B Corp in Italy, announce today’s historical vote with the Italian Parliament approving the Benefit Corporation legislation.
With this legislation, Italy becomes the first country in the EU and the first country in the world outside of the USA to create a specific legal form that lets business leaders consider their companies’ impact on stakeholders like society and the environment on the same level as they consider their profits.
Benefit corporations, which will be known as ‘Società Benefit’ in Italy, are a new legal tool that allows a new company to be created on a solid foundation for long term mission alignment and value creation. It protects its mission during capital injections and leadership changes, creates more flexibility when evaluating potential sale and liquidity options, and prepares businesses to lead a mission-driven life post-IPO.
The Italian Benefit Corporation legislation gives more freedom to entrepreneurs, creates economic development at no cost to the state, and attracts investments in these new breed of purpose-driven companies.
“We are very proud of this historical achievement”, says Senator Mauro Del Barba, first signatory of the ‘Società Benefit’ Bill, “as it demonstrates that Italy is and the Italian government are ready to lead in Europe, and quickly accelerating along a much needed reforms and corporate evolution path. We have achieved this result through a phenomenal cooperation between a diverse coalition of politicians, policymakers, businesses and law experts, both national and international”.
Nativa, B Lab country partner for Italy, kickstarted the process in the fall of 2014. “We have been impressed by the commitment, depth of analysis, and speed of all the actors involved”, says Paolo Di Cesare, Nativa cofounder, who has been directly involved in the writing of the Bill, and in coordinating the connections between the Italian government and B Lab. “We dreamt it could all happen in one year, but now that this has really happened it is like a dream come true”, continues Eric Ezechieli, Nativa cofounder, who ignited the process. “We are sure this event will accelerate the adoption of similar, much needed legislation in Europe and worldwide”.
The Benefit Corporation paradigm has been designed and is supported globally by B Lab, a global non-profit organization that sets and raises business standards to inspire and guide corporations to act as a force for good in the world, which could involve minimizing negative externalities, maximizing the positive, and utilizing their entrepreneurial acumen for societal benefits. Beyond supporting Benefit Corporation legislation, B Lab also certifies for-profit companies that use their business as a force for good. Certified B Corps are companies that attain B Lab’s certification by meeting high standards when it comes to their business models, practices, policies and behaviors that contribute to human, societal and environmental wellbeing, beyond that of financial profit. While there are Certified B Corps in over 40 countries around the world, Italy is the first country beside the USA to also adopt Benefit Corporation legislation and create a new corporate form to support businesses that put purpose at the heart of their business strategy.
Benefit Corporations are required to report their social, environmental and community impacts in a rigorous and transparent way, by adopting globally recognized standards such as the B Impact Assessment (BIA). The BIA, developed by B Lab, is used by over 30,000 companies since 2007. The BIA will be entirely translated and available in Italian at the beginning of 2016.
B Lab Europe’s co-founder, Marcello Palazzi, stated “we congratulate Nativa for their pioneering and relentless hard work in working with Senator del Barba to prepare the ground for this historic legislation and looks forward to supporting the future community of Benefit Corporations in Italy”.
About B Lab and B Corps
B Lab is a nonprofit organization that serves a global movement of people using business as a force for good TM. Its vision is that one day all companies will compete to be Best for the World and as a result society will enjoy a shared and durable prosperity. B Lab drives this systemic change through a number of interrelated initiatives: 1) building a community of Certified B Corporations to make it easier for all of us to tell the difference between “good companies”
and good marketing; 2) promoting usage of Mission Aligned corporate structures to increase efficacy of social entrepreneurship and impact investing; 3) promoting Measure What Matters campaigns to increase use of free, powerful tools for businesses to measure, compare and improve their social and environmental performance (more than 30,000 businesses use B Lab’s free B Impact Assessment and more than 100 investors and institutions use B Analytics, B Lab’s customizable platform to help them measure, benchmark, and report on the impact of the businesses with whom they work and in whom they invest).
Nativa is a Re-Design Company. Nativa fosters the Evolution of business and society, so that they create a positive impact on people and planet, thus growing Happiness. Nativa is a Founding B Corp™ in Europe, the first B Corp in Italy, and one of the first in the world. Nativa is an innovation hub of The Natural Step global network. Nativa, on the one hand helps companies incorporate sustainability into their DNA, improve their business results, and create authentic and shared value; on the other, it develops new businesses (e.g. Croqqer.it ) that ‘by design’ regenerate humans, society, and the biosphere. Nativa leads Evolution Beyond Growth. Nativa is the partner of the non profit B Lab for the diffusion of B Corps & Benefit Corporations in Italy.