Rossella Sobrero Morning Future
Guiding Interview 23 August Aug 2019 0730 23 August 2019

Sustainability and corporate responsibility: when communication turns strategic

“Companies that appear to be working together to find solutions for the future of the planet consolidate their reputation and become less vulnerable.” A conversation with Rossella Sobrero, the heart of the Milan Csr Show and new president of Ferpi, on the most innovative trends

  • ...

She’s the heart and creator of the CSR Social Innovation Show, the most important event in Italy dedicated to sustainability, held at The Bocconi University in Milan, and president of Koinètica, the first company in Italy, founded in 2002, devoted exclusively to corporate social responsibility. And recently, Rossella Sobrero has been called to the presidency of the Italian Public Relations Federation . “The market is changing and, as a consequence, communication needs to be renewed in terms of language and tools. Thanks to platforms which are easier to use, it is possible not only to communicate with different audiences but also to engage them. Technological evolution must be at the heart of our efforts.

Rossella Sobrero

What is the role of business communicators today?
The Public Speaker’s job is to help organizations manage relationships with internal and external stakeholders in an increasingly effective way. A key role that touches on several, sometimes very complex aspects. In an increasingly fragmented world, being able to manage relationships with the public is fundamental to any organization: strengthening relational capital improves reputation, generates consensus, allows important alliances to be made. An activity that must always be transparent, correct, mutual.

Does sustainability also play an important role from a communication point of view?
There's no doubt about it. All organizations today need to be aware that we are undergoing a major transformation which calls for a change of course. Organizations that have made sustainability a strategic driver have started a process to produce better and with fewer resources, to improve the well-being of employees, to help solve community issues. I’m convinced that companies today must not only act responsibly but also communicate transparently. The statement that organisations are glass houses exposed to the judgment of stakeholders is very true: transparency and accountability are fundamental. Sustainable policies are not enough: you need to share them with stakeholders if you want to strengthen relational capital.

Being able to manage relationships with the relevant audience is essential for any organization

Rossella Sobrero, President of Ferpi

Innovation and communication. What are, in your opinion, the most significant trends?
The market is changing and, consequently, communication must also be renewed in terms of language and tools. For example, technology allows a dialogue and a comparison with stakeholders which was unfathomable until a few years ago: thanks to platforms that are increasingly easy to use, it is possible not only to communicate with different audiences but also to engage them. We should think about the rapid evolution of artificial intelligence: although it is not yet clear what the impact will be on our work, we must be careful and study the technological evolution taking place. If in some activities a computer can simulate mental processes typical of humans, I do not believe, for the moment, that a robot can manage relationships.

At the end of June, you were chosen to be president of FERPI: what are the most qualifying aspects of your program?
The most important challenges that lie ahead in the coming months are the enhancement of the profession of the Public Speaker and the renewal of Ferpi. Society is experiencing a moment of “metamorphosis” and our job must therefore also change; it has become increasingly urgent to rethink both the role of the communicator and that of Ferpi as a representative organization. The goal is to recognise the strategic role of our profession in the decision-making processes of organisations. It is an association with an important history: we want to start again from this in the process of renewal. The goal is to make Ferpi more dynamic, lively and flexible, to meet the new needs of members but also to face a rapidly changing market. Together with the new National Board of Directors, we are organising a steering commitee that will be tasked with rethinking membership rules and some work groups that will have to put forward concrete initiatives on different topics.

Businesses must not only act responsibly but also communicate transparently.

Rossella Sobrero

There are many young Italian innovators who are passionate about communication and would like to work in this field. What advice can you give?
Deepen the content, learn how to manage relationships, always be open to change and to contamination: a mix of technological skills that must be complemented with soft skills such as critical thinking, creativity, synthesis capabilities.

 Scelto per te