The B Corp: an international overview and the Italian Case Study

Inequalities, high levels of pollution, diseases and the scarcity of resources are only some of the several critical conditions that have underlined the attention to social and environmental issues. The worldwide attention has recently pointed out the necessity to improve the overall conditions proposing Sustainable Development Goals. According to data, the major part of the responsibilities that have caused the current situation can be attributed to businesses and production processes. As a consequence, switching to sustainable models of business results as a key objective for future years.
In order to realize this path, the dissertation presents a new kind of certification, the B Corp certification, and the idea of a new sector of the economy. Particularly, the B Corp certification characterizes a corporation that, recognizing the importance of social and environmental issues, introduces them in its mission. This configures a new model of for-profit business that, implementing the sustainability in its core business, aims to have a positive impact on society while it tries to reduce effects on the environment. Thanks to its innovative peculiarities, this model has been introduced in the legal framework of few countries, such as Italy.
After having provided an overview of the international B Corp movement, the thesis investigates why a CSR-oriented company should become a B Corp. Particularly, the analysis will consider the recent Italian BCorp movement. For the reason why available data are limited, the analysis has been conducted through three different methodologies to provide an exhaustive answer. Firstly, it has been inspected a survey conducted on Italian Certified B Corps that, even if it cannot be considered reliable for the low level of participation, it has given several points to think about. Secondly, there are some considerations of accounting data of Italian corporations that have the certification for at least two years. Finally, it has been considered the thought of two Italian researchers in order to have also an academic opinion. All things considered, it results that the BCorp certification could play a relevant role in a more sustainable growth in order to achieve SDGs, solving social and environmental issues.

Alice Bianchi, Second Cycle Degree Programme in Resource Economics and Sustainable Development – 2019, Università di Bologna