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Corporate diplomacy. Perché le imprese non possono più restare politicamente neutrali

A ghost wanders the world: it is the ghost of globalization, with its economic-financial but also social and cultural implications. In the new scenario, functions and roles that were once the exclusive responsibility of governments enter the sphere of corporate responsibility. From the small entrepreneur who, by posting content online, can unleash a reputational storm; to the large transnational companies that, thanks to the pervasiveness of digital technology, are able to put in place an unprecedented volume of communication. All companies can now assume a status of active subject within the system of international relations, distinct from that of their respective governments. The business world of the 21st century can therefore no longer shy away from politics or remain politically neutral. The company must develop the ability to operate in increasingly broader contexts through a sort of corporate foreign policy, based on two elements: a reading of social and geopolitical issues with which to assess and monitor risks and threats, and a far-sighted corporate diplomacy activity with respect to the issues that are at the centre of the agenda and public debate.

Vittorio Cino is European Affairs Director of The Coca-Cola Company. Professor at Luiss Business School in Rome and at IULM in Milan, he is Chairman of the Public Affairs Committee of the American Chamber of Commerce in Italy.

Andrea Fontana is President of Storyfactory and of the Italian Storytelling Observatory. He teaches Storytelling and Business Storytelling at the University of Pavia, where he is also Director of Education of the first University Master in Italy in Narration Sciences.