Europe’s leading business families were hailed for their sustainability and stewardship by their peers at the glittering European Families in Business Awards 2019 this week.
Henkel, the €19.9 billion ($22.4 billion) German chemical and consumer goods giant, won the highly prized honour—Top Sustainable Family Business of the Year—at the exclusive and private gala dinner and awards presentation at the Four Seasons Hotel, Milan on Tuesday.
Henkel’s ambitious “Factor 3” sustainability goal started in 2012 and aims to triple the value it creates from its operations, products and services by 2030. To reach its goal of becoming three times more efficient by 2030, it has had to improve its efficiency by an average of 5% to 6% each year. It reached its targets from 2011 to 2015 when it improved the relationship between the value it creates and its environmental footprint by 38% overall. By 2018 there was an efficiency increase of 43%.
Konstantin von Unger (right), a fifth-generation member of Henkel’s Shareholder Committee, accepted the top award on behalf of his family. He paid tribute to the other four awards finalists and urged business principals to make sustainability their “top priority” as Henkel had done for generations.
“Our commitment to sustainability guides us in everything we do,” von Unger said.
“We balance our economic success, environmental protection and social responsibility, which is an integral part of our corporate culture… A growing population and declining resources are reflected in our sustainability strategy. We want to create more value for our customers, employers, neighbours and shareholders, and also the company, while reducing our environmental footprint at the same time.”
The Top Family Business Rising Star Award was presented to Emanuele Preve from Italy’s Riso Gallo. The sixth-generation member has led initiatives to look outside the traditional family business and invest in the start-up space, diversifying the family business into gluten-free pasta varieties and ready meal products.
“As I've joined the company only five years ago, after various experiences, what I've tried and I'm trying to do is to give a different perspective on how to approach the business and problem solving,” Preve said.
"About sustainability, our business is nature friendly, rice is a sustainable product that is well integrated in the countryside, but there are still some issues mainly related with the packaging. We are working together with some providers on new eco-plastic films.”
Selin Yigitbasi-Ducker (pictured) received the Top Next-Generation Entrepreneur Award in a closely-run category where a mere point separated the top contenders. She is the founder and director of early-stage start-up Goodsted—a platform which makes it easier to link individuals and organisations who would like to volunteer their skills or donate products and spaces to non-profit projects.
Yigitbasi-Ducker told the crowd she was “overjoyed to even be a part of this inspirational group of people” and thanked the Goodsted team and supporters, and her family.
“At Goodsted we are building a tool for individuals and organisations to better collaborate for social and environmental impact in order to help reach the UN Global Goals for 2030,” she said.
“Our digital platform creates a more engaging, accountable and measurable way for sharing skills and other resources needed to address the variety of challenges encountered by social entrepreneurs. As a result, we also aim to strengthen communities, create opportunities for skill development, and increase individuals’ mental wellbeing.”
Tomaso Trussardi (pictured above), third-generation chief executive of his family’s 108-year-old fashion house was on hand to accept the Top Family Business Leader of the Year Award. Trussardi’s award comes in part due to his role in sealing a €50 million deal with a Milan-based investment firm to capitalise the business.
The Top Non-Family Director Award was collected by Italian family business veteran Michele Norsa (pictured above left). He has more than 40 years’ experience in senior roles at a number of Italian corporates, including Salvatore Ferragamo, Valentino Fashion Group, and Marzotto. It follows more than a decade as chief executive of Salvatore Ferragamo.
Melia Hotels International won the Top Family Business Award for its performance in 2019 that saw the third largest hotel group in Europe open 17 hotels, with innovations including a €130 million ($146 million) digitalisation project and artificial intelligence air conditioning.
CampdenFB hosted the eighth annual edition of the grandest night in the European family business calendar in partnership with BNP Paribas Wealth Management. Sofia Merlo (pictured), co-chief executive, and Remi Frank, head of the key client group and professional banking, at the global private bank joined returning master of ceremonies Tim Jenkins, former BBC business correspondent, and CampdenFB deputy editor James Beech on stage to present the awards.
The event was the popular social highlight of the flagship Campden Wealth European Families in Business Conference, in Milan, on 2-3 July. The conference was chaired by Lamberto Frescobaldi, 30th generation winemaker and president of Marchesi De' Frescobaldi.
GROUP PHOTO: Award winners join hosts CampdenFB and BNP Paribas Wealth Management on stage at the CampdenFB European Families in Business Awards 2019, in the Four Seasons Hotel, Milan, on 2 July. On stage (from left) Remi Frank (BNP Paribas Wealth Management), Konstantin von Unger (Henkel), Tomaso Trussardi (Trussardi), Selin Yigitbasi-Ducker (Goodsted), Michele Norsa (Multiple businesses), Sofia Merlo (BNP Paribas Wealth Management), James Beech (CampdenFB). CREDIT: Antonio Sansica