It’s a critical moment for corporate sustainability in Italy and companies turned out in force at an event we held in Milan last week to hear how to turn this year’s legal obligation on non-financial transparency into an opportunity.
We hosted over 60 participants from 38 registered companies at TIMSpace for a morning of presentations and conversations about the merits of a distinctive approach to sustainability for the benefit of the entire business, covering topics of sustainability strategies, non-financial reporting, stakeholder engagement and communications. Entitled “Nel Labirinto della Sostenibilità” (In the Sustainability Labyrinth), the event warned about the dangers of having a narrow, compliance-oriented response to the requirements of the Italian decree mandating reporting on some social and environmental matters (read our blog post on how the decree is changing the Italian sustainability scenario – in Italian.)
Joakim Lundquist, CEO of Lundquist, introduced the event. He noted how approaches to sustainability need to be seen as part of a wider drive to better understand stakeholders if companies are to be more transparent and develop a distinctive approach to reporting, transparency and business communications generally.
The first part of the event saw two presentations about how the EU directive on non-financial reporting is presenting companies with an opportunity to enhance their approach to sustainability.
Firstly, James Osborne, partner at Lundquist, described the wider transformation under way in corporate accountability and the need for companies to develop a distinctive approach to the most material issues rather than relying solely on standardised, anodyne frameworks.
Putting the stakeholder at the centre means reporting, engagement and communications are conflated, actions belonging on a single spectrum of strategic activities.
He proposed ways in which enlightened companies might embed the sustainability agenda into their governance principles and the responsibilities of board members.
Roberto Randazzo, partner at law firm R&P Legal and lecturer in social innovation and impact investing at Milan’s Politecnico university, discussed the implications of mandatory non-financial reporting in terms of corporate governance, risk management and compliance.
The event continued with a conversation about how four different Italian companies are addressing sustainability and transformed it into a strategic asset for the business – two major enterprises with a long tradition in sustainability and two smaller firms that are actively addressing their indirect impacts. James Osborne interviewed:
- Alessandra Cantù, Sustainability Reporting, Monitoring & Relationship at TIM, and Lorenzo Radice, Head of Sustainability at Gruppo Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane
- Claudio Albanese, Head of Communications and External Relations at Juventus FC, and Paolo Cerino, Director of CSV & Education To Export at SACE Group
The event closed with 10 recommendations for developing a distinctive approach to sustainability from Lundquist’s sustainability team: Paolo Cominetti, Vittoria Ghirlanda and Marcella Semenza.
The event attracted registered participants from:
A2A – Amplifon – Ansaldo-STS – Ariston – Autogrill – Banca Generali – Banca Ifis – Banca Sistema – Banco BPM – Cassa Depositi & Prestiti – DeNora ERG – Exprivia – Falck Renewables – Ferrovie dello Stato – Fineco Bank – Giorgio Armani – Gruppo Cir – GSE – Imprese di Talento – Intesa Sanpaolo – Iren – Juventus – Luxottica – Magneti Marelli – Mediobanca – Moncler – Mondadori – Piaggio – SACE – Salvatore Ferragamo – Saras – SISAL – Sky – Tenaris – Tenova – TIM-Telecomitalia and Yoox Net-a-Porter.
Photo Credit: Marco Curatolo