But what are benefit companies? Inherited from the United States, where the first case of benefit companies dates back to 2010, they represent a growing evolutionary trend of all those companies that see beyond profit, wanting to leave their positive impact on the community and the environment. The purpose of a benefit corporation is precisely to create a Common Benefit in the community in which it operates, impacting the lives of collaborators, shareholders, suppliers, customers and the surrounding environment.
Today more than ever, especially in this period of lockdown that we have experienced, we have realized the problems that have affected our age: from the lack of protection of the worker and the consumer, to environmental pollution.
Companies, in particular, are realizing that making a profit cannot be the only business goal. Alongside the offer of a quality product / service, there is the need for this activity to have a positive response to its community.
We tackle the issue of benefit companies and their purpose with Marta, owner of Enotecanaturale, a place that shares its headquarters with Emergency, in Piazza Sant’Eustorgio. The restaurant offers a wide selection of products from the short supply chain, and its positive impact continues behind the counter. Let's get to know it together.
Hi Marta, today we are here because we would like to chat with you about the very ethical choice you have made to found a benefit company. A company that makes profits, but also good. Could you explain better what it is?
The idea of founding a benefit company was born mainly because we are here, in the Emergency headquarters. And it seemed important to us, in addition to sharing the workplace, also and above all the values of peace and solidarity that they carry out in their daily work. Thus was born Enotecanaturale, as a benefit company. We donate part of our turnover to Emergency. And we have entered into a partnership with the CELAV - Work Mediation Center - of the Municipality of Milan to offer training internships to asylum seekers. Currently 3 guys work with us in the kitchen: 2 with a training project, a boy with an apprenticeship contract, and another who helps us part time. During this year and a half, several young people followed one another who collaborated with us for 4-5 months with training projects.
This is what is expected of companies today. Don't just make profits, but leave a positive impact on your community. We believe that it is these companies that give value to a city. Your way of acting also affects the choice of products you offer.
Yes, among the main products we sell are natural wines: respectful of the environment and the work of people in the production phase. Even the raw materials used in the kitchen comply with the standards of the short chain.
Returning to the partnership with Emergency. Was the choice to collaborate with them desired from the beginning, or did it come after starting to share the work location, and actually getting to know each other better?
We actually had the same experience with another institution through the small wine shop we had in Piazza Gambara. Afterwards, Emergency contacted us, we told him about our project and we decided to carry on together the values we share. Thus, they proposed to open our wine shop next to their headquarters.
In light of this project of yours that we are discovering, we were wondering if your customers are aware of the work and the values you carry out.
In our own small way, we always try to communicate to them the project behind Enotecanaturale. We hope that the message arrives.
Are there other realities that you know and appreciate, linked to the world of benefit companies, in the Milan area? Or even local, which are not really benefit companies, but who are committed to leaving their positive impact on the community?
At Parco Sempione, for example, there is a small bar, La Locanda alla Mano, which employs several young people with Down syndrome. Or the Rab, another venue in Corso San Gottardo, which professionally trains young people with different disabilities.
Last question. Do you think there will be an evolution of benefit companies in Milan?
The benefit company is an inheritance we have received from the United States. I have noticed that this trend has been gaining momentum in recent years, especially here in Milan. I therefore believe that there will be a positive evolution of this trend, with more and more companies having a positive impact in every area of daily life.