Health and beauty

Fashion and beauty: the push for customers and investors to transform into a benefit company

The key points

  • To move different realities the desire to write down the commitments made in black and white
  • Most also point to B Corp certification
  • Objective: balance between profits and social impact

Whether they are start-ups or historical companies, it doesn’t matter. The fashion and beauty they are among the most interested in the transformation into a benefit company. The reason can be found in one of the strongest macro-trends of recent decades: sustainability. Which for many companies represents an identity pillar and, for all the others, a growth direction.

Save the Duckduvet company animal free founded in 2012, with a turnover of 47.3 million euros in 2021, was among the first to make the change of statute: “We started to take an interest in this path between 2017 and 2018 – says Silvia Mazzanti, sustainability manager – because we had the need to consolidate some good practices already in place. The transformation into a benefit company, which then took place in 2019, forced us to report, declare our benefit purposes by statute and make our commitment official in legal terms “. The push, according to Mazzanti, came from consumers: “We wanted to confirm our commitment and then be able to communicate it to them.” Save the Duck then embarked on the complex evaluation mechanism to become B Corp, and was the first Italian fashion company to obtain certification: “Benefit companies should borrow the missing verification phase from B corp”.

Also L’Erbolario, a beauty company from Lodi founded in 1978, has chosen to transform itself into a benefit company. The founder, Franco Bergamaschi, tells us: «We have always aimed at a sustainable growth model, but last year we decided to“ certify ”it, becoming a benefit company. We have expanded the corporate purpose and reorganized several companies of the group which have merged into Erbolario Holding ». For Bergamaschi the need to put pen to paper the pillars of the activity and annually report the activities stoppednibili stems from the fact that “customers are increasingly demanding. Today transparency on ingredients and product safety guarantees are not enough, we need to certify the company behind that product “. The subject of verification, according to the entrepreneur, exists: “the board of statutory auditors is obliged to verify the veracity of the social impact report and the benefit company is subject to the control of the Antitrust Authority”.

If the other companies have initiated (and concluded) a transformation process, the start up Whispr, a fashion company committed to promoting gender equality, has been a benefit company since its foundation. A choice that Sofia Ciucchi, CEO and co-founder, explains as follows: “It was already the right shape to give to our company because we wanted to have a company with a social impact while remaining on the market”. For Ciucchi, the incentive to take on the status of benefit society is not the economic one (the 10 thousand euros of deductible notary fees) but “the commitment with oneself, investors and customers”.

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