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When a company is a social enterprise

An expression, a smile, an idea, a project. The culture of a firm can also be understood from these things, apparently unrelated to the market, product, balance sheet and figures. If culture is, for example, the firm’s intrinsic guiding principles, spirit and approach towards the market and employees, its description also takes a direction which can be unusual and unexpected.

In this way the corporate concept instilled in a production organisation has in the past also been built up through the day care centres for employees’ children, the seaside and mountain holiday camps, savings banks, gift packs and the actual image of the factory. Today globalisation lays down the law yet for those firms for which culture is a keystone for growth it is in fact the same thing, only in broader terms.

It is important and interesting to understand therefore what can happen in these cases. This is what makes reading and looking at Imprese Sociali Ferrero [“Ferrero Social Enterprise”] so enjoyable. This is a book of just over 300 pages, rich in photos and stories which tell how Ferrero, starting in Alba in Piedmont in 1946, managed to combine business and social responsibility through the creation of production units in India, Cameroon and South Africa.The collection of pictures and stories, edited by Caterina Ginzburg, is classified by people (men and women with various jobs in Ferrero plants), places (India, Cameroon and South Africa in fact) and products (cocoa, milk and sugar cane). A sequence of photos and stories of work, of lives lived, of joy and sorrow, of discoveries and conquests: a combination which makes up the unique picture of the social enterprise culture which Ferrero has built in time.

The book thus forms an emotional trilogy, an unexpected journey into places, milieus and homes which hide nothing but which in fact map out the idea of a company which bases its culture on profit and quality as well as on the local area and people. A single entity made up of several places permeated by the same idea about production.

Imprese Sociali Ferrero

Edited by Caterina Ginzburg

Skira, 2012