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Welfare Champions 2021: 105 Small Businesses with Big Impact

September 10, 2021

Welfare Index PMI: how it promotes the value of corporate welfare in Europe and how it has evolved since the onset of the pandemic.

It has become self-evident now that for a business to prosper it must embody and resonate with the values, needs and aspirations of its community, making corporate welfare an indispensable part of a company and its policy.

This is all more true in Italy: in the last 6 years, we have not only witnessed 64% of Italian SMEs exceed their initial level of involvement in their respective communities, but we have also experienced a surge in the number of companies proactively engaging in welfare-related projects, going from 9.7% in 2016 to the current 21%.

This growing awareness of the importance of CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) has further been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the long-lasting and profound economic, social, political, and cultural impact it has, had, and will have in the foreseeable future.

SMEs are a fundamental vehicle for the recovery and rebirth of the country, hence, it is of paramount importance for them to assimilate the priorities encased in the NPRR – National Plan for Recovery and Resilience (namely Health, Women, Youth, Families and Communities) within their corporate welfare strategies.

The Welfare Index PMI, now in its sixth year, observes how companies function as social and economic entities. The Index serves as a sort of reservoir of information and inspiration for other SMEs who want to either initiate or ameliorate their own corporate welfare policies. It is the result of a collaborative effort between a network of companies, institutions, experts and associations.

Corporate welfare generates social impact: this is what emerged from the 2021 Welfare Index PMI Report, illustrated in Rome in the presence of Government representatives and of Marco Sesana – Country Manager & CEO of Generali Italia and Global Business Lines. The initiative was promoted by Generali Italia, with the patronage of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers and with the participation of the main Italian Confederations: Confindustria, Confagricoltura, Confartigianato, Confprofessioni and Confcommercio.

The event was the occasion to celebrate the 105 Welfare Champion companies, which received the 5W rating (five times as many as in 2017) and which have distinguished themselves for their corporate welfare initiatives.

Used to evaluate the more than 6000 companies participating in the project, the Welfare Index PMI analysis tool has been modified and strengthened thanks to the collaboration with the Cerved Rating Agency, which made it possible to evaluate companies through 126 variables. The survey assessed the social impact of corporate welfare on all stakeholders: workers, families, communities, suppliers, and consumers. It also monitored the commitment of companies in the protection of rights and diversity, their responsibility towards consumers and suppliers, the areas of human capital development, and the protection of working conditions.

The Report highlighted numerous corporate welfare initiatives implemented by Italian companies to tackle the pandemic: from diagnostic services for Covid-19 (43.8%) to medical consultation services, carried out even at a distance (21.3%), to new health insurance policies (25.7%).

This year, the Welfare Index PMI promotes the value of corporate welfare in Europe by participating to the first edition of SME EnterPRIZE, Generali’s flagship initiative developed to promote a culture of sustainability among SMEs. Six of the Welfare Champions 2021 (Elettronica, Galvanica Sata, Illumia, Il Pugno Aperto, Natura Iblea-Paniere Bio e Progesto) are shortlisted and the Italian “Sustainability Hero” will be announced during the event that will take place in Brussels on September 28, in the presence of representatives of European institutions and the media. On that occasion, the White Paper on the integration of sustainability principles in European SMEs, promoted by Generali and developed by SDA Bocconi, will also be presented. Further information is available at