The benefit company as a tool within the reach of agrifood companies to rigorously approach sustainability issues
The benefit company is a qualification that the legislator introduced through the Stability Law for the year 2016, art. 1, paragraphs 376 to 384 (law no.208 of 28 December 2015).
Through this model, companies can pursue traditional profit goals along with social and environmental goals.
However, this is not a commitment "outside" the company's core business or the mere management of environmental and social externalities through CSR (corporate social responsiiblity) approaches. It is a rigorous and formal approach, through which an organization institutionalizes in its statute the social and environmental objectives it aims to achieve and which are at the heart of its business model .
A benefit company, therefore, is expected to be responsible , that is, to carefully manage its impacts, its externalities, on the environment and society, but also to be a generator of social value, through a clear and far-sighted planning of its own "common benefit activities".
An example of how a benefit company defines its goals and the way to achieve them is the Boniviri Impact Map .
Benefit companies are also called upon to report their performance with respect to the results achieved and their impacts.
As explained in the Guide to the Constitution and Management of Benefit Companies of the Taranto Chamber of Commerce (see here ), the annual report that the benefit companies are required to prepare must contain the "evaluation of the impact generated using the external evaluation standard that includes the following areas of evaluation ": corporate governance, workers, other stakeholders and the environment. An example of an impact report is Boniviri's Impact Report.
Companies operating in the agrifood market are taking their steps within a complex sector, where sustainability issues are relevant and increasingly under the magnifying glass of the media and stakeholders.
As told by Teknoring , in the last five years (2016-2020), the Food Sustainability Observatory has registered 7,120 agrifood startups, not only Italian. For these organizations, the priority objectives are: "the transition to more responsible production and consumption systems , where 35% of the solutions proposed by new companies are concentrated; the fight against hunger, with 21%; sustainable and inclusive economic growth , with 17%.
Among the most relevant parameters analyzed and managed by the organizations surveyed there is the efficient use of resources (centered by 17% of the sample), resilient agriculture and sustainable tourism (12%), awareness of sustainable lifestyles (11%), protection of small producers (9%), reduction of food surpluses and waste (7%). "
It is therefore clear that companies operating in the agrifood sector are increasingly called to consider issues strictly linked to sustainability and innovation. Many of these are already moving in this direction. In fact, again according to the Observatory, 1,808 international startups pursue one or more Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations 2030 Agenda .
What better tool than the benefit society?
Taking these issues to heart and putting them at the center of one's work is complex and, in addition to the will of the management, requires specific legal and managerial tools.
Thanks to the qualification of a benefit company , an agrifood company can make a formal and rigorous commitment to the pursuit of these objectives, which are already central to its business model. Not only will it be able to include its social and environmental objectives in the articles of association, but also report its performance in a structured and transparent manner to its stakeholders through the annual report.
Not only that: it will be possible to join a network of virtuous companies that are attentive to sustainability, demonstrating with conviction to their customers and consumers the social and environmental commitment that the company has undertaken.
Boniviri's adventure moves along these tracks . Until now this approach has brought great value to the organization, creating meaningful relationships with both strategic partners and customers, and giving the team great motivation . It is a long path towards the creation of social value, of which Boniviri wants to be one of the forerunners in the food market, stimulating other organizations in the sector to change.
If you want to learn more about this issue, do not hesitate to write to us at: email@example.com .