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Governing sustainability

A newly-published book sheds light on the complex topic of ESG factors

Businesses that are both “sustainable” and “efficient”. A combination that is far from impossible – indeed, one that is increasingly achievable,provided that both the management and organisation side of things are structured and conducted with care. These are the issues upon which the new book by Rita Rolli (professor of private law in the Department of Legal Sciences at the University of Bologna, and practising lawyer), is focused, entitled “L’impatto dei fattori ESG sull’impresa. Modelli di governance e nuove responsabilità” (The impact of ESG on business. Models of governance and new responsibilities)

The perspective of the book is to understand the tensions around sustainability in companies – which are today focused around the now-famous acronym ESG (Environmental, Social & Governance) – from a concrete viewpoint. Not an easy task, then, that the author has set herself – above all because this acronym incorporates a range of interdisciplinary concepts and operational tools that must be fully mastered, and which guide the choices and strategies chosen not only by large joint-stock companies, but also by those in the financial sector and, to a certain degree, by smaller businesses too. All of this must then be set within a context that is not simply managerial and organisational, but also legal, in line with European and national rules, involving various legislative aspects, before getting to the major issues of environmental safeguarding and a focus on the social consequences of the way in which businesses act.

Rolli uses the impact that ESG factors have on governance

and corporate responsibility as a starting point, before moving on to examine first the legal and then the organisational aspects of these; she then moves on to the somewhat delicate issue of the responsibilities of company directors.

The issues in the book are discussed in a language that is not always easy to read, due to the difficulty and complexity of the subject itself.

Two core aspects emerge from Rita Rolli’s work: on the one hand, the new legal questions that appear to shed fresh light on traditional institutions, suggesting a common vision which aims to blur the line between specific and general interests, and on the other, a very particular (and insufficiently-known) aspect, namely good business culture that increasingly appears to be expanding throughout a significant portion of the Italian industrial fabric.

L’impatto dei fattori ESG sull’impresa. Modelli di governance e nuove responsabilità (The impact of ESG on business. Models of governance and new responsibilities)

Rita Rolli

Il Mulino, 2021