Sustainable is beautiful: how to embrace the green transition

SDA Bocconi - La Repubblica Ideas for growth

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“Sustainability is an ethical choice, it helps to cope with market pressures in the broadest sense (coming from suppliers and banks, customers and legislators), but above all, it is advantageous," said Francesco Perrini, Associate Dean for Sustainability of SDA Bocconi School of Management, in the first meeting of the Idee per la crescita (Ideas for growth) series, streamed today from repubblica.it.

“Research has shown that those who invest in sustainability achieve better financial performance over a 5-10 year time horizon, with a quantified impact of between 10 and 20 percentage points more in revenue and between 5 and 10 percentage points less in costs.  Sustainable companies, finally, last longer than others. Being sustainable is increasingly necessary to survive.”

The Green Transition meeting, moderated by the Deputy Director of Repubblica, Walter Galbiati, and organized by the newspaper and SDA Bocconi, was also attended by Edoardo Ginevra, Co-CEO of Banco BPM, and Piermario Barzaghi, KPMG Partner responsible for sustainability services.

Perrini recalled that the acronym ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) was coined in 2006 on the occasion of the launch of the UN Principles for Responsible Investment and therefore has a financial origin.

Ginevra of Banco BPM underlined how banks, among other activities related to sustainability, can support companies in making a transition that will not be without costs, also through the design of products that value the efforts of companies that improve their carbon footprint.

Barzaghi of KPMG explained that the mandatory sustainability reporting for large companies, which is starting in these months, will also help SMEs to become more sustainable. “Large companies,” he said, “will want to interact with a value chain that is itself sustainable and will choose their suppliers also on this basis. For SMEs, therefore, being sustainable will become a competitive lever, an opportunity rather than an obligation.”

To move in this direction, Perrini clarified, “companies will have to innovate, and to innovate they will have to invest. This is how the rhetoric of small is beautiful is put into crisis. If our initiative is called Ideas for growth, there is a reason: scale is increasingly important for investing and innovating; we cannot afford to multiply costs and structures, and many SMEs should aim to aggregate to be more competitive. The slogan,” he concluded, “must become sustainable is beautiful.”

Click here to watch the debate

SDA Bocconi School of Management

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