The Unsuccessful Pursuit for Sustainability in Italian Business Law
In Beate Sjåfjell and Christopher M. Bruner (eds), Cambridge Handbook of Corporate Law, Corporate Governance and Sustainability (Cambridge University Press, 2019), Chapter 21.
Posted: 8 May 2019 Last revised: 15 Jun 2020
Date Written: May 6, 2019
This chapter considers sustainability issues in Italian business law. In particular, it focuses on the two main approaches the lawmaker uses: creating no- or low-profit organisations (such as benefit companies), with specific labels; and setting down rules on special reports and statements that some companies must or may prepare in order to show their commitment in the field of sustainability. Following a normative analysis, the Italian system is shown to be ineffective, as the approach towards sustainability is always seen as an exception to a full-profit rule, even if the full maximisation approach comes from a social norm rather than a legal one. The chapter concludes that a much more effective measure would have been to change the basic norm on partnerships and companies, delivering such concepts from the need of profit purpose.
Keywords: Società benefit; Enti del terzo settore; Imprese sociali; social enterprises; non-financial statements
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