Impact Benefit & Sustainability
As required by law, Futura published its Benefit Report for 2021, containing the targets achieved and to be achieved, the impact assessment according to the BIA and the targets for 2022.
The pursuit of not only economic, but also environmental and social sustainability (according to ESG criteria) is now increasingly pressing and unavoidable for companies.
The market is becoming sensitive to this issue and tends to favour products and services that are consistent with this approach, and therefore operators who care and pay attention to a sustainable approach which, on closer inspection, also has effects on the internal economy as it can lead to reduced product manufacturing costs and consumption, improved corporate image, better employee commitment and productivity and open up new markets.
However, it is essential that the sustainability narrative is matched by a concrete and reliable attitude.
In 2016, the figure of Benefit Societies was introduced in Italy (Legge di Stabilità 2016 - 28/12/2015 n. 208, Art. 1 Commi 376-384) which is part of the broader movement of sustainable development, corporate social responsibility and so-called impact investment.
In short, Benefit Societies are those which, in the exercise of their economic activity, in addition to the profit motive, pursue one or more aims of common benefit and operate in a responsible, sustainable and transparent way towards people, communities, territories and environment, cultural and social assets and activities, bodies and associations and other stakeholders.
Futura believes that the choice of being a benefit brings competitive and reputational advantages that allow it to differentiate itself with an innovative way of doing business by telling with immediacy and transparency its way of being and its adherence to an irreversible change.
At Futura, we have the skills to help companies interpret regulations, procedures and processes and implement them in their business activities, thanks to the in-depth knowledge of our clients and the relationship of trust we establish with them. We offer a method to support companies in their journey towards sustainability and to evolve into benefit companies.
We offer companies a range of services, including training at all levels of the company, possibly integrated with a Legal Design Thinking approach.
- verification of specific areas in the light of data obtained through one or more questionnaires designed on the basis of the best known assessment standards and identification of strengths and weaknesses;
- identification of possible objectives to be pursued, especially in view of the Sustainable Development Goals compatible with business activity;
- technical round table and discussion with the various company functions in order to understand the impact of the previous assessments on the organisational system;
- overall assessment of the institution and its possible future scenarios, creation of internal policies and procedures, identification of performance indicators and implementation of a strategic sustainability plan.
Evolution into a benefit society
- understanding of the value and significance of the evolution into a benefit society;
- identification of a path and explanation of the meaning of change in benefit companies at all levels of the company (with particular attention to the duties of corporate bodies and the obligations to be fulfilled);
- evaluation and analysis of the company's structure, activities, potential benefits, social impact, pursuable common benefit purposes;
- identification of the possible corporate purpose benefit and other changes to the articles of association;
- support at every stage of the process (possible ordinary meeting, discussion with the notary, extraordinary meeting);
- suggestions for the communication approach (branding, social...);
- training of the Board of Directors, identification and training of the benefit manager also for the purpose of social impact assessment and the report to be attached to the budget;
- possible accompaniment to the B Corp. route
Training forthe benefit manager
We provide training sessions for the person responsible for the pursuit of the common benefit purposes with the aim of transmitting those specific skills, characteristics and qualities necessary to the role in order to be an effective support to the Board of Directors or in the Board of Directors in the pursuit of the benefit purposes and in the drafting of the benefit report.
The course provides knowledge on:
- characteristics of the benefit society;
- environmental and social sustainability today;
- main sustainability standards;
- introduction to impact assessment;
- notion of balancing profit and common benefit and duties of the board and the benefit manager;
- annual report benefits;
- internal and external communication activities.
For course information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Supporting the impact assessment and drafting of the annual benefit report
The preparation of an annual report to be attached to the annual financial statements is a legal duty for benefit societies.
Far from being a bureaucratic fulfilment, it represents a starting point and then a constant path of analysis, account to third parties and strategic approach to improving the company's long-term impact.
We are benefit companies, we draw up and publish our own report and, knowing the difficulties that can be encountered in setting up a benefit report but also the satisfaction that completing and publishing it brings, we provide knowledgeable and competent support to benefit companies in these phases:
- drafting of the specific items of the report required by law:
a) evaluation of the objectives of common benefit and verification of the achievement of each of them;
b) understanding of the reasons why certain objectives were not achieved;
c) identification of objectives for the next financial year consistent with the company's benefit object and its possibilities;
d) impact assessment and identification of the standard;
- Identification of possible topics useful for a comprehensive report even if they are not required by law;
- implementation of a method and pathway to be followed for the creation of a 'logbook' and for monitoring of objectives during the year with a view to drafting the report;
- design thinking method of long-term strategy.
Advice and support to prevent or challenge greenwashing
Greenwashing consists in the use by a company of commercial communications and marketing aimed at inducing consumers and third parties to believe that policies have been adopted that respect ESG criteria, and therefore the environment and the social context, despite the fact that in reality the activities implemented have been superficial, undocumented and not scientifically verifiable, perhaps even with the aim of diverting attention from corporate dynamics that create negative impacts.
Such a practice arouses and must arouse disapproval among consumers who are aware of sustainability implications and competitors who instead devote effort and investment to have internal strategies that create common benefit and positive impact, especially if we consider that pursuing the global goal of sustainability can bring a reputational and competitive advantage and improve a company's image.
From a regulatory point of view, greenwashing practices in our legal system can be traced back to misleading advertising, unfair competition and unfair commercial practices.
At Futura, thanks to the joint work of a lawyer with expertise in social impact and ESG criteria and a communications expert, we are able to provide support in promoting marketing that prevents the publication of potentially misleading data and the risks associated with it, as well as in evaluating a defence strategy and any related remedies.
Our consultancy also covers an evaluation of third-party communications in order to understand profiles of unfair competition and misconduct.