Cottino promotes the impact economy – Il Sole 24 ORE

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By profession they study impact finance models and support companies that choose to do business in a sustainable way. The Cottino Foundation team was born with the important legacy of the engineer Giovanni Cottino behind it and the aim of disseminating the culture of the impact economy among companies. «Our soul is precisely that of creating practical solutions, tailored to different realities, and sharing them with companies» explains Cristina Di Bari who, in 2019, took over the baton from her uncle Giovanni Cottino and who now leads the Foundation by the entrepreneur. The Foundation’s field work aims to support companies in the processes of transforming their development model across the board. A strategic question even before compliance, for companies.

«Today we observe an increasingly precise request from the financial world, banks and investors, for impact indicators» states Cristina Di Bari. The process of transformation of development models has therefore begun, driven by finance and large companies that are redefining their supply chains. «Cultural work on entrepreneurs relating to the theme of sustainability is central – adds Di Bari – destined to become a competitive factor for companies, to stay and remain on the market». Acting as drivers for this transformation that is going through the business world are the Action Plan on the Social Economy, which comes from Europe, and the Social Taxonomy which is being worked on at a European level. Financial regulations that anticipate economic transformations are inserted into this context.

Cristina Di Bari. She is president of the Cottino Foundation and CEO of the Cottino Social Impact Campus

Campus and Business School

In the Cottino Social Impact Campus, born within the Polytechnic of Turin four years ago, the Center for impact evaluation was created in collaboration with the Turin Chamber of Commerce – Turin Social Impact – of which the Campus took over in 2022 scientific, strategic and management guidance. «We are developing a program together with Compagnia di San Paolo, in favor of the Municipality of Turin, to create a first real estate evaluation model that combines – explains Cristina Di Bari – the economic value with the social one, through models, to encourage transformations urban planning in a social key”. An innovative model, therefore, which will have to be validated by the Court of Auditors and which can be scalable.

The Foundation then, at the end of 2022, acquired the ISTUD Business School based in Baveno, on Lake Maggiore, with 52 years of work behind it on manager training thanks to the commitment of local companies. The School of Management has three structured activities: it organizes four post-graduate master’s degrees, manages tailor-made executives for companies interested in specific “catalogue” courses and takes care of initiatives custom requested by businesses.

The initiatives

The Foundation relies on instrumental bodies such as the Business School and the Cottino Campus, created within the Polytechnic of Turin, to carry out its initiatives. Among these are the IP Labs created by the Cottino Foundation and now in their fourth edition. These are tenders involving university students and SMEs on targeted impact projects, to stimulate the culture of impact in companies and among managers and entrepreneurs. The initiative involved around sixty companies and two universities. The new tender will open in the coming months and compared to the past, explains Giuseppe Dell’Erba, director of the Foundation, it has introduced a series of innovations to support companies’ efforts to adopt a strategic vision on the culture of impact. «The issue for companies, starting with the smallest ones, is not only to adapt to the new regulations from a supply chain perspective, but to adopt a strategic vision and integrate the issue of sustainability into their business model». The theme of skills is central, of managers on the one hand and young students on the other. «In recent years we have worked by supporting the creation of prototypes in the field of circular economy or corporate welfare, now the objective is to have a more integrated approach, we want to enter the heart of companies so that the paradigm of impact and sustainability are absorbed into the governance and in the company’s DNA” explains Cristina Di Bari.



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