People, community, environment and social responsibility: an ethical company cannot avoid committing earnestly, continuously and concretely to each of these aspects. An ethical company creates value by setting a good example and being a role model: this was the topic addressed at the conference organised by Confindustria Benevento with the Angelo Affinita Foundation.
“You see, Giovanni, a company is not a personal asset. It is a social asset”.
Once again, my father was very forward-thinking.
I was thinking back to his words and how they are a brilliant summary of what was discussed last Friday at the San Vittorino Complex in Benevento.
Let’s proceed in the right order.
When is a company ethical?
A very important, demanding and topical question.
Think about it. It has to do with business activities and their social and economic repercussions, and the responsibility we have vis-à-vis other people and the local communities in which we operate.
In short, this is a question that any good entrepreneur has the duty of asking themselves often.
In order to identify concrete and common answers, Confindustria Benevento turned this question into a conference with the support of the Angelo Affinita Foundation, and we were glad to take part in it. SAPA was glad to take part and be a speaker at this event.
It was my brother Antonio, Executive Director and Vice President of SAPA Group to participate in the debate and share his personal experience and our entrepreneurial vision – a vision that stems from the legacy that our father Angelo left us.
He discussed the issue with Mr Filippo Liverini, President of Confindustria Benevento, and Mr Matteo Marzotto, a well-known and well-respected entrepreneur in the wool sector, who was the guest of honour at the event.
The debate moderator was Father Alexandro Gatti from the Association Nuovi Orizzonti (New Horizons).
At SAPA, there is one thing we are all very proud of: ethics is the light that lights the way for the activities of the whole group.
Antonio was right at reminding us of this by quoting a motto that my father held very dear.
“It is people that make the difference”.
If we are to talk about ethical companies, this is where we must start from. This is always the starting point for my family.
How a company is managed is a decision that is mainly made by those who create it and run it. It is a personal, human decision.
All the activities of our group are carried out in full respect of the human capital, of the environmental resources and of all the stakeholders.
AN ETHICAL COMPANY GROWS WITH THE PEOPLE
First and foremost, a company has an ethical responsibility towards its people.
Think about it: how much time do we spend at work?
The environment that we’re in, the atmosphere we’re exposed to, the choices made and the lessons we learn on the field can have an extremely positive impact on our personal lives.
Business growth goes hand in hand with the growth of the people that work there. Only in this way can there be human and industrial growth.
This is why we consider training opportunities as a fundamental part of working life and we created an ad hoc internal department for this purpose: SAPA Academy deals with personnel training and suppliers training.
And not only that. An ethical company, especially in the South of Italy, has an additional value to it.
I am talking about the “home comers”.
This is how we affectionately call the highly skilled people from the Campania region that had left their homeland for several reasons.
We looked for them and selected them carefully.
Today they have the opportunity to work in their homeland and to contribute to its development, and they can be closer to their families and loved ones.
This is what we are trying to initiate: a virtuous cycle that can extend to the families, hence to the social fabric of the region.
HOW AN ETHICAL COMPANY SUPPORTS THE LOCAL COMMUNITY AND PROTECTS THE ENVIRONMENT
The local community includes the environment as well.
An ethical company, in our opinion, never loses sight of its duty to respect and protect our planet.
At SAPA we are working very hard for this and we are for ever committed to researching and experimenting sustainable materials and technologies.
We do so by investing in a project like Life Biobcompo, which will allow us to reduce CO2 emissions by 1.23kg by 30 June 2021, thanks to new composite materials. In short, we do so by producing more lightweight components for less-polluting cars.
All this is the heart and soul of the One-Shot® Method, i.e. the world’s fastest method to produce car parts that SAPA rests on.
By reducing the number of production phases down to just one, as you can imagine, energy and materials consumption also goes down and so does production waste.
Yes, protecting the environment can also turn out to be the main lever for business development. This is what is going on in our company.
THE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY OF AN ETHICAL COMPANY
In our opinion, the activities of an ethical company should not be limited to the business arena nor to the sector that the company operates in.
We are players within a social environment, and we want to lead and give back to the less fortunate.
The Angelo Affinita Foundation, which came into existence to continue my father’s human and spiritual legacy, does precisely this.
Our objective for the Foundation is to support children and young people in need thanks to training and work.
We teach them “to fish”. You get the drift: we want them to learn to stand on their own two feet and to be able to build their future and their success independently.
It is in this spirit that Casapane was opened in Santa Maria a Vico. It is a social business that aims at creating jobs, work opportunities and social inclusion for the local young people in need.
Today it employs 12 people and besides the baking kitchen, it also has an area dedicated to training young people where they can learn the basic techniques for baking bread, proving it, processing food and cooking.
WHY DO YOU NEED TO GO BEYOND BUSINESS IN ORDER TO BE AN ETHICAL BUSINESS?
You see, the men and women who every day at every level contribute to SAPA’s growth know that they are working towards a common objective that goes beyond business.
If we had stopped at the numbers and sheer trading at a profit, we would have closed shop a long time ago.
The truth is that successful companies have a soul and data doesn’t have a soul.
People have a soul. And people must be at the heart of the daily activities and they must be given a shared model to emulate.
The ethics of the company owners is to be fully adopted and shared by the managers, who in turn have the responsibility of sharing ethical choices with their co-workers and so on like in a cascade.
By “sharing” I do not mean making an intellectual effort of letting people know how things should be done.
No, it’s more than that.
It means leading by example, a concrete and daily example of this way of doing things.
The more companies will decide to be an ethical and intelligent company, the greater the impact of this attitude on the local communities.
We are here to do our bit.
General Manager and Member of SAPA’s Board of Directors