Business as an exponential technology: Nativa, first Benefit Corp in Europe, talks about it in Milan at SingularityU Italy Summit 2017

The Singularity University Summit, in Milan on 27 and 28 September, comes to Italy with the contribution of Nativa. To help us understand the exponential impacts of technological innovations and to seize emerging opportunities, leading experts share the leading thinking on where we are and where we are going to meet together the great challenges of our time through a virtuous use of technology.

Never as in recent months has there been so much talk about technology and its impacts on our future which, as is becoming increasingly evident, will be disruptive. Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, robotics, progress in the most varied fields, from genomics to the more traditional fields of energy and automotive: wherever we look we have the feeling of being in the presence of growing and converging waves. Indeed, what we are experiencing is an exponential dynamic, in which what happened in the past is not a good predictor of what will happen in the future, as the speed of change is accelerating beyond our capability of understanding.

There is an unusual aspect that Nativa shares at the summit through the voice of its cofounder, Paolo Di Cesare: the most exponential, powerful and pervasive technology is actually Business, which has grown in recent decades and will continue to grow in the coming years with the potential to shape our common future. For all intents and purposes, business is a human invention, which currently has the sole purpose of distributing profits. Benefit Corporations create a new paradigm because they add to the traditional purpose of profit a second, equally important one: the creation of a positive impact on people and the environment.

Benefit Corporations were born in the USA a decade ago and Nativa was the first example of a B Corp in Europe and in Italy, where it also contributed to the introduction of the Benefit Companies law. This new model is emerging with increasing force, especially in Italy where Benefit Corporations, both certified B Corps as well as those adopting a new legal status, are growing faster than in the rest of Europe, already exceeding 200.

Benefit Corporations are committed to using business to create a positive impact. Singularity U itself is a Benefit Corporation in the state of California. Our dream is that soon the most iconic Italian companies will move in this direction, something that has already been done by companies like Alessi, Fratelli Carli, Davines or Banca Prossima of the Intesa Sanpaolo Group. Other major companies such as Danone, Unilever, or in Italy OVS and Enel are exploring the Benefit model and the concept of measuring the Benefit created for the world through their core business. Italy is already an international benchmark and we believe that in the future our leadership in this field will continue to strengthen.

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