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‘ettomio, Benefit Corporation for a Sustainable Future: it takes a 'village' to make a company

12 / 01 / 2024

Paola di Ettomio

"When I used to dream about the company, I would often imagine the blurred outline of a country village: one where there are those who produce, those who consume, those who work to supply the raw materials and those who have the skills to administer them." 

This is the rather poetic image that Paola often shares when asked the question: "What is Ettomio?" 

Normally when one thinks of a successful company, words like business, turnover, margins and profit at any cost come to mind. The image of the village, however, portrays more accurately what the Ettomio company has become. 

"The village is a symbol of collaboration and sharing. It is a place where everyone knows each other. And that is the reason why they help each other in case of need. But there is more than that. They also support each other in the small everyday activities, and work for the pleasure of participating.  People cooperate and think about the well-being of the others, and not only about their own interest. Because the interest of the individual is the interest of all."

Wanting to run the company like a village means aspiring to return to an idea of community. This is why Ettomio has always worked with this purpose in mind, even defining it within its statutes by identifying us as Benefit Corporation.

What does it mean to be a Benefit Corporation?

A Benefit Corporation is a company that, in addition to its primary activity, pursues one or more purposes of common utility. It is a company that is committed to operate responsibly, fairly and transparently towards people, communities and the environment. A Benefit Corporation is naturally committed in pursuing its economic return, but it does so by engaging - at the same time - in the creation of social value, in protecting the environment, supporting local communities and social inclusion, and by improving the quality of life of its employees.

Sustainability in practice

But what does it mean to be sustainable in 2024? 

Nowadays, you cannot start thinking about realising a product without planning to make it with sustainable and certified raw materials. We have chosen to work with natural materials that have a low environmental impact, that regenerate quickly and are easily available. Though we do really consider this to be a given: by now even the most prominent companies on our planet have 'converted' to sustainability in this respect.

Ettomio:  sustainability starts from the design.

The concept of sustainability finds its deepest expression already in the thought of wanting to realise a piece of furniture that can be transformed and adapted over time.

By designing long-lasting furniture, we strive to reduce waste and counter the phenomenon of 'fast furniture' which - just like fast fashion - is leading our dumping grounds to no longer be able to handle the waste produced by our 'consumption needs'.

Designing long-lasting furniture does not only mean making it adaptable over time, but also making it well! By choosing to work with craftsmen, selecting solid, quality wood, painting each product to keep it beautiful and easy to clean, we ensure that our objects remain in excellent condition for years and years, without the need to replace them.

This way of working is somewhat against the current trend, but we are convinced that it is the right way to ensure a better future for our children and our planet.

In order to do this, we ourselves need the 'village', in other words, a strong collaboration with the craftsmen and designers who work side by side with us through continuous design and research.

The importance of the circular economy

This is how, quite naturally, our production model established itself as a circular economy. The mentality of “throwaway”, of impulse buying, and products made to last a short time is, unfortunately, very damaging to both the environment and the society given the abnormal exploitation of natural resources, pollution and the large amount of waste it produces. 

On the other hand, a circular economy promotes sustainability, the extended use of goods (which must be taken care of in order to maintain them for a long time) and the recycling of production waste.

Among the most interesting features we propose, for example, are the collection made with only production waste (which is actually called 'Zero Waste') and the possibility of having Ettomio collect the parts you no longer use when you decide to upgrade your bed (e.g. by removing the “House” bed frame and replacing it with a headboard).

How we bring value to the community and to the future

Beyond the purely productive aspect, we are engaged in various ways to try and create a virtuous circle that brings value at every stage: 

  • We are committed to ensure fair working conditions for our employees by allowing flexible working hours, smart working and enabling the work-life balance by granting a high degree of autonomy.
  • We promote social inclusion and support the non-profit organisation A.Gen.Do, which is committed to the social and professional integration of people with Down syndrome. We have been working with their young people, involving them in the production of packaging and of boxes containing instructions. 
  • We only work with local producers and craftsmen who share our values, creating, in this way, high quality products that respect the environment and the people.
  • We have implemented a local short supply chain, choosing only partners that operate within a short distance from our headquarters. This has multiple advantages: it reduces intermediaries, which results in greater cost savings for the end customer; it reduces carbon dioxide emissions and favours local businesses and the true Made in Italy, merging craftsmanship and ethics.  
  • We promote conscious and personalised purchasing. We do not want to produce in excess. We prefer to produce what is necessary, without overproduction, because we know the value of things and how much time goes into making them by hand, with passion and commitment, from selected, high-quality materials. We therefore propose unique products, made to last and to become daily study and play companions for our children. We do this to pass on to them essential values for a better future such as sustainability, ethic, persistence and commitment. 


Here at ‘ettomio we are convinced that what is needed now, in this historical moment, is to establish a virtuous circle that can inspire others to follow our example. We have in fact decided to set up our own little 'village', where everyone knows each other and helps each other, with the common goal of spreading value across the territory through ethical and sustainable choices, without discrimination of any kind. 

In our own small way, we want to show that it is always possible to consciously choose the best path for the common well-being and to make a difference. All this because we wish to promote a change of direction that can generate a better world and a better future for our children.