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Good business foundations

A piece of research investigates the reality and the role of these entities within the scope of social responsibility of companies as well as in welfare

 

Companies that are aware of their surrounding social system are now commonplace although not always that widespread. And yet, what is referred to as Corporate Social Responsibility is good for the territory and for the company itself. And foundations continue to be one of the most comprehensive tools of excellence that companies have at their disposal. However, we need to understand fully the nature, action and objectives of the various structures present within the Italian industrial system (and beyond it). To do so, we need, for example, the study by Chiara Lodi Rizzini and Eleonora Noia about “Le Fondazioni di impresa di fronte a un welfare state in transformazione” (Company foundations in the face of a changing welfare state) which was recently published as part of a broader collection on the second welfare in Italy.

The objective of the research, the authors explain, is to investigate “which space is currently occupied, and will be occupied in future, by Company foundations in a changing welfare state“. They then add: “These entities are able to contribute to the innovation of social tools and services. Considering the projects launched in recent years, moreover, Company foundations in many cases feature the distinctive elements of the second welfare: they adopt projects and intervention models that promote social innovation; they often focus their activities on theempowerment of the recipients; they implement governance models aimed at involving the communities in which they operate; they contribute to setting aside additional economic resources”. They are, in other words, important points of action on the territory for the companies that create them, but they are also opportunities to study innovative projects that tackle together businesses and social problems.

The first part of the article addresses the main characteristics, the limitations and the potential of Italian company foundations, also in the light of recent trends in the context of corporate social responsibility as well as business philanthropy. The second part of the analysis focuses on the role of Company foundations as actors in the second welfare, based on the concrete experiences of some of the main concerns that work in the country.

“Company foundations prove to be able to occupy a space of their own as part of the welfare state“, is the general conclusion of the research. One that does not however hide the risks and dangers of their actions.The study brings to the light the delicate balance between manufacturing culture and budget reasoning.

The work by Lodi Rizzini and Noia has the great merit of being written clearly and frankly and it is also comprehensible thanks to a series of diagrams and charts that sum up effectively the reality and the actions of Italian Company foundations over recent years. It provides a good base to understand and do better.

Le Fondazioni di impresa di fronte a un welfare state in trasformazione (Company foundations in the face of a changing welfare state)

Chiara Lodi Rizzini, Eleonora Noia

in Terzo Rapporto sul secondo welfare in Italia (Third Report on the second welfare in Italy) 2017, F. Maino and M. Ferrera (edited by), 2017