IBSA and sustainable governance18 March 2021
A business or organisation is sustainable if it pursues economic and financial objectives while effectively and tangibly following and advancing ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) criteria.
The Legal Affairs department role at IBSA entails more than just overseeing legal compliance; it means actively promoting a key concept: sustainable governance. The concept goes beyond protecting the company from risks, by upholding the principles of lawfulness, transparency, traceability and preventing corruption. It extends to the positive development of a corporate identity based on best practices and therefore capable of attracting investors, instilling loyalty in customers and suppliers and cultivating a better work environment.
The Legal Affairs department is therefore no longer considered a cost centre or a group of professionals to be deployed when a matter becomes pressing, but a business function that pro-actively assists all other corporate functions so that they may do their work according to the highest standards of compliance with the law and sustainability, helping to define the company’s best practices.
One of these best practices is undoubtedly the inclusion of a section on Legal Procurement in the Sustainability Report as early as 2018. In 2020 IBSA carried out its first global beauty contest to select lawyers. “The internationalisation of the beauty contest,” explained Elisabetta Racca, Head of Legal Affairs, “began before the Covid-19 emergency, but it was the pandemic that revealed how in the twenty-first century any good governance principle must be applied globally and not just locally, especially in a multinational business like ours.”
In addition to that the department provided vital assistance to their colleagues in the Information Technology department in the development of the company’s e-learning portal for all aspects concerning the management of data processing and privacy. The Supply Chain department also lent crucial support in the implementation of the Suppliers Portal, which – in the wake of the positive experience with Legal Procurement – will make it possible to manage the supply chain digitally, improving compliance.
This change of paradigm is already well underway and is poised to become the benchmark for other legal affairs departments in large companies as well.