02-Planeta_manchette_175x100
Allegrini 2018
BUSINESS AND THE FUTURE

The wine and agro-food supply chain “Benefit Corporations”: ethics combined with profit

Growing numbers and excellent examples from Avignonesi to Feudi San Gregorio and Perlage Winery in wine

Certifying environmental sustainability is fundamental, and Italian wine is waiting to complete the path that will lead to a single national standard. However, it will no longer be enough, since we are in times when everything changes very quickly. Therefore, the theme of ethics, especially when certified and communicable, becomes an important added value for those working in increasingly competitive markets - wine as well as all the others - in terms of ability to sell products and to attract economic and professional capital. This explains the boom in “benefit corporations”, that is, those companies that “integrate into their corporate purpose, in addition to profit objectives, the aim to have a positive impact on society and the biosphere”, as the information portal on the subject curated by B Lab and AssoBenefit, www. societabenefit.net, clarified.
Italy was the first country in Europe and in the world to introduce this legal form in 2016 (except for the US, where it has existed since 2010). In the beginning, five companies in different sectors adopted it; but, by April 2021 that number had increased to 926 (Infocamere data). Most of the companies are concentrated in Lombardy (316), Lazio (117) and Emilia Romagna (94).
It is a tool, which in addition to increasing the appeal of a company in any sector and any size, thanks to better transparency than usual, and to a whole series of reports that the company is required to present to maintain the status, it also has concrete advantages. The status of Benefit Corporation “allows you to protect the mission in the event of capital increases and changes in leadership, create more flexibility to evaluate potential sales and maintain the mission, even in the event of generational changes or listings on the stock exchange”.
The wine world, which has always been particularly sensitive to the issue of environmental sustainability, and the ethical integration of the social and production fabric in which the companies operate, obviously counts numerous companies. On the list the Società Benefit has published (some of the most recent registrations may be missing from the list, or some companies do not want to communicate it publicly), the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Avignonesi, brand stands out, and also the Farra di Soligo winery, in the land of Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG, Perlage Winery, of the Nardi family, and just a few months ago, Feudi di San Gregorio, the Irpinia brand led by Antonio Capaldo with companies in Friuli Venezia Giulia (Sirch), Bolgheri (Campo alle Comete), Etna (Federico Graziani), Basilicata (Basilisco), Apulia (Ognissole) and in Cilento (Tempa di Zoè).
There are many companies on the list related to the food and wine and food worlds, large Multinationals, organized and structured companies, and small craft businesses. For instance, the giant Danone, and companies like Slow Food Promotion Srl, part of the Slow Food galaxy, or a top Made in Italy brands such as Illycaffè, or the historic Ligurian olive oil company Fratelli Carli. Continuing on, the Coppola Industria Alimentare, from the Campania Region, a company that produces various sauces and condiments exported all over the world, or the Sicilian firm, Damiano Organic, which processes and markets dried fruit and organic derivatives, or Pasticceria Filippi in Zanè (Vicenza), or the La Loggia restaurant dei Cereali di Montagnana (Padua), or Gnuno Srl, a Milanese company to which EnotecaNaturale belongs. Plus, Terre Alte del Piceno, specialized in typical foods of the Marche, or the organic farm, La Campagnola, in Friuli, near Udine, in Le Valli del Bitto, in Valtellina. These are just a few examples of a trend that in the near future we can be sure will become more and more influential, and will “benefit” everyone.

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