Increasingly frequent floods expose the territory’s fragility and denounce decades of foolishness and negligence. Local and national politicians seem impotent before this emergency. In Rosora (near Ancona, Italy), a company with 350 employees and 65 million Euro in revenue decided to fill the void left by politics. The Loccioni Group, leader in developing automatic measuring and control systems, “adopted” two kilometers of the Esino, a river that runs along its establishments.
It’s an example of corporate social responsibility and social innovation, which is the capacity of private businesses to manage problems with social and ethical impacts. Economists theorize about its advantages: a company that adopts socially responsible behavior, responding to stakeholders’ economic, environmental, and social expectations, can obtain competitive advantages and maximize profits over the long term.
There are many Italian businesses that, recognizing a competitive advantage in their home regions, seek a to have a positive impact on surrounding communities. These initiatives generate diffuse benefits, but also specific returns for the companies that enact them, beyond imagined advantages: absenteeism and employee turnover are reduced, corporate culture, participation, and productivity are improved, even innovation and creativity. The results indicate the ability of individuals and companies to operate in a complementary or alternative way to governments and administrations to compensate for inadequate policies and interventions from above. The awareness that targeted, efficient initiatives from below can correct inefficiencies and resolve problems is always more diffuse.
Marco Magnani – Il Sole 24 Ore 04.01.2015