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Sustainability, from "nice to have" to "must have": a destined way

It is certainly not the first time that we emphasize how sustainability is - or at least must be or should be - one of the company priorities regardless of both the size and field of activity of the company: sustainability in the broad sense, which includes all environmental issues (from reducing emissions to compensating the unavoidable ones, to designing durable and recyclable products, to minimizing waste) but also considers the social and territorial impact of its activities. As a matter of fact, both the economic solidity of the company (the well-being of employees depends on its proper functioning, which also affects its supply chain) and the positive or negative impact on the territory in which it operates and, more generally, on the national and international community.

A policy aimed at a sustainable approach is no longer a so-called "nice to have" (so something that demonstrates a responsible action of the company and also gives it prestige) but a real "must have" (therefore something absolutely to have). This is also demonstrated by the intention of the European Commission to enlarge the audience of actors with obligation to submit the Sustainability Report based on measurable and certified ESG criteria - Environmental, Social and Governance. Until now, only listed issuers, banks and insurance companies with more than 500 employees and a balance sheet of at least € 20 million and/or a total net revenue of at least € 40 million had a reporting obligation (Legislation 254/2016 in fulfilment of Directive 2014/95/EU).

With a view to achieving the goals included in the 2030 Agenda, the will is to extend the number of reporting entities, which would increase from just little less than 12 thousand to about 49 thousand: the new rules could make the reporting obligation compulsory for all companies listed on the stock exchange regardless of their size - large companies with a balance sheet of at least € 20 million and/or a turnover of at least € 40 million  and/or 250 employees, EU subsidiaries of non-EU companies. To these entities that could be required to report by law, we should add all those that would be subject to an indirect obligation: reporting companies will in fact most likely ask their suppliers to submit the necessary documentation.

Regardless of existing obligations and those - more or less close, although this will be the destined way - in the future, it remains to be asked whether the choice of adopting responsible strategies, of measuring performances and coordinating them in a structured and clear document towards all stakeholders should only be the result of a precise legislative obligation, or if it is the natural consequence of a process of change that sees sustainability as an integral part of every business process.

We want to believe in this second way. On the other hand, even beyond the sense of personal responsibility and sensitivity of each one, every company is pushed towards sustainability from several directions: possibility of expanding customers or even just maintaining the current ones, access to credit, corporate ratings are increasingly linked to these intangible aspects, which will soon make a difference if they do not already