The territories of sustainability: this is the theme of the seventh edition of the CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) and Social Innovation Exhibition ( Il Salone della CSR e dell’Innovazione Sociale) organized in the University of Verona (the 11th stop) with RIS, Sustainable Innovation Network as protagonists and representatives of the business world and social cooperation.
CSR is an evolving business practice that incorporates sustainable development into a company’s business model. It has a positive impact on social, economic and environmental factors.
Italian companies are increasing their commitment to CSR. According to ” VIII Report on the social commitment of companies in Italy “, in 2017 there was almost one and a half billion euros (1.412 billion) invested in CSR shares by Italian companies, equal to 25% more than 2015 (1.122 bln): the data about the percentage of companies that believe in CSR is significant, passing from around 44% in 2001 to 85% in 2017.
From an environmental point of view, the basic themes that emerge from the report are the attention paid to the territory and local communities, actions to reduce the environmental footprint, limit energy costs and improve waste collection.
What’s “Il Salone”
The CSR and social innovation exhibition is promoted by Bocconi University, CSR Manager Network, Global Compact Network Italy Foundation, ASVIS – Italian Alliance for Sustainable Development, Sodalitas Foundation, Unioncamere, Koinètica. It is the most important event in Italy dedicated to sustainability, an opportunity to activate positive energies, share ideas, find common paths. The national edition will be held in Milan and is preceded by the 12 stages of the CSR Giro d’Italia.
Dozens of meetings, hundreds of speakers, thousands of visitors: the Show gives us a chance to know about the companies that have made sustainability a strategic driver, to meet young people with inspiring ideas of CSR initiatives, helping to build networking as well as the future of CSR.
“The territories of sustainability”
What are the territories where sustainability is born, grows and develops? In order to better develop sustainable initiatives in Italy, this journey to the discovery of innovative experiences is indispensable. A journey through the territories of the mind, geographies of thought where ideas are born, grow and transform. The territory is a physical space to be preserved and enhanced, but also can be an ideal space to be cultivated so that sustainability can become a value for everyone.
The eleventh stage was held at the University of Verona. Here are some highlights which contributed to an effective communication of the principles and methodology of CSR as well as SDGs among the business personnel.
The first session of “Space to the experiences” saw the presentation of the commitment and projects of eight local organizations in CSR and sustainability, including Lidl Italia, Cielo e Terra, Cattolica Assicurazione,ForGreen etc.
The “Beyond the Trolley – Lidl against waste” project has inspired many present participants. As AlessiaBonifazi, Communication and CSR Manager of LIDL Italia mentioned, many food are ugly but good. Those products that no longer fall within commercial standards must not be wasted and can make a difference for many people in financial difficulty. That’s why the project was born.
At a national level, one year after departure, there are over 330 Lidl sales points participating in the program and combined with charitable facilities (canteens, family houses, parishes …) which withdrawal food several times a week directly at supermarkets. The first results are remarkable: the 2,000 tons of food recovered and donated by Lidl stores have turned into over 4,000,000 meals for those in need. 70% of what is recovered consists of fruit and vegetables, produced with a high nutritional value thanks to their contribution of vitamins and minerals.
Towards a more sustainable future
CSR is becoming a route through which businesses can help solve pressing societal problems and we are re-imagining business as mission-driven.
To encourage more companies to take social responsibility and make sustainable strategies like Lidl did, it is necessary to unite all the strengths from society, to share more opinion and practices among the companies, search for academic support from institutions (including RUS- Rete delle Università per lo SviluppoSostenibile) and hear more voices from organizations (like ASviS, The Italian Alliance for Sustainable Development). Here Il Salone is a perfect platform for connection, inspiration and innovation, and also an enlightment for us to think about CSR and practice social innovation when we enter companies of different sectors, contributing for a more sustainable future for our society.
Wen Jin (Luna)