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Italy

Sustainability

Updated 11/2012

Legal requirements

The Italian government encourages companies to improve environmental standards and to operate responsibly in this area.  The government provides Incentives for businesses that wish to who wish to undertake provisions to promote sustainability.

Corporate social responsibility

Companies can exercise their ”social responsibility” through the adoption of accounts, social, environmental and sustainability relations, or by using socially responsible management systems, that is by reporting on the performance of the corporate social responsibility. A useful information system is the Portal of corporate social responsibility (CSR).

In particular, the adoption of a social account, a fundamental tool of corporate social responsibility, is still a voluntary choice in Italy and not a legal obligation. The social report is a public document aimed at social partners who are, directly or indirectly, involved in the company's business activities. The information published in this document contributes to creating and spreading a positive reputation which improves the company's image and promotes dialogue with all stakeholders.

The ethical and social responsibility of a company can also be certified according to an international standard. The best known is the SA 8000 certification. The SA 8000 is concerned, in particular, with the respect for human rights, workers' rights, the protection against the exploitation of minors, security guarantees and a healthy place of work.

Standards

Quality management standards

The ISO 9000 certification has become noticeably widespread in Italy, with considerable annual increases. This certification identifies a set of standards and guidelines designed to develop a quality management system and improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the company, as well as to improve customer satisfaction.  A similar system of quality management is ISO 9001. The ISO 9001 is obligatory in some sectors and in relation to the participation in contracts and public invitations to tender.

Environmental management standards

If you wish to increase your business's social and environmental responsibility, you need to set out clear objectives and earmark resources for this.

To improve the business's environmental credentials, you could opt for certification:

  • Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) or Environmental Product Declaration (EPD);
  • ISO 14000;
  • Eco Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS);
  • Eco-label (ECOLABEL).

The Environmental Product Declaration is aimed at improving communication related to the environment among producers and manufacturers and between retailers and consumers.

The ISO 14000 set of rules represent a point of reference for companies who wish to reduce their environmental impact.

The EMAS and ECOLABEL schemes guide companies in environmental policy.

Rules of Management regarding safety at the place of work

In order to comply with the legislation on safety at the place of work and within the strategy of risk management, many companies implement an Occupational Health and Safety Management System (OHSMS). OHSAS 18001 is the main international standard for occupational health and safety management systems.

The law requires businesses to comply with minimum social and environmental rules.

Administrative procedures

Implementation of corporate social responsibility

The SA8000 certification process can be divided into four phases:

  • submission of the form (status of applicant);
  • internal re-organization of the company to achieve certification standards;
  • initial audit for issue of the certificate;
  • periodic control audits.

Certification of standards

Rules of quality management

The certification process ISO 9000 involves the following steps:

  • entering into a certification contract with an organisation recognized for the issuance of the certificate;
  • submission of the documentation by the organisation;
  • assessment visit in the company by expert evaluators in the sector;
  • issue of the certificate.

Surveillance checks will then be performed regularly in order to ensure that the quality management system is continuously being applied in accordance with standards.

Environmental management rules

Environmental certifications can be obtained through accredited organisations. The procedures to be followed depend on the type of certification required and, as a rule, include the following steps:

  • analyse the environmental situation;
  • adopt of an appropriate environmental management system;
  • carry out an environmental audit;
  • prepare of the required environmental statement;
  • obtain independent verification by an accredited verifier;
  • record the statement with the competent Italian authority;

Resources

If you wish to receive more information on sustainable development, contact the Chamber of Commerce.

Programmes

The fiscal incentives and tax concessions encourage business owners to donate funds to social, cultural and humanitarian organisations. These support business owners who wish to reduce their energy consumption and invest in energy from renewable sources, such as solar energy used in photovoltaic plants.

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Help & advice

Help & advice

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