The new buzzword in business.
What's the buzz about joining the B Corps? Well, it's a way that a commercial business can gain a hallmark of goodness; a stamp that says to the world: this business is doing good things and will use its profit in good ways. Obtaining B Corps certification sends out a big signal to all that a business can be trusted and the B Corporation, as an organisation, lights a beacon of hope for a positive way forward to a better world, with capitalism in the picture, although not quite as we have known it.
B Corporation is a US organisation that has set itself up as a third party with a complex system to rate and evaluate business practice. If a business applies and meets stringent criteria for social and environmental performance, it can qualify for membership and advertise the B Corp badge of approval for all to see. Members must also be committed to ongoing improvement and creating benefit for all stakeholders, not only shareholders. This is actively supported by events and networking opportunities. They seek practical ways to implement their ideals; they believe "that we must be the change we seek in the world", "that all business ought to be conducted as if people and place mattered" and "that...businesses should aspire to do no harm and benefit all".
Having a purpose pays off
The B Corp certification movement has grown beyond the US and is spreading around the world that it seeks to benefit. There is now a strong presence in the EU and the UK; you can explore all 163 UK B Corps, 146 of those fully certified in this great interactive map. Well known names in the UK include Ella's Kitchen and Pukka herbal teas; also, energy company Bulb, and The Big Issue magazine are amongst a diverse group of businesses, large and small, brought together in their willingness to make a better world through business.
“Who said being good to the planet isn’t good for business” says Georgina Wilson-Powell (1 March 2018 pebblemag.com). With new research revealing British B Corp’s growth as 28 times above the national average, it suggests that having a purpose pays off. This success can be attributed to both a rise in the conscious consumer, and in the employee pursuit to be part of a business that goes beyond monetary gain.
Culture is a key in business — both for attracting and retaining talent. Being B Corp certified is a great way to cultivate a positive company culture; after all, nothing unites people like a common cause.
Values are shifting
Today's consumers are seeking to make the world a better place. That is high on their list of values; and there are many different and creative ways this can be done. This attitude is driving change in the market place, and in this potentially win-win situation, business is finding that it pays to be good. You can be for-profit and for-making-the world-a-better-place at the same time.
Values are shifting. Dennis Lomonaco observed in Forbes, January 2018, that a recent Harvard University study found that 51% of millenials questioned did not support capitalism, but perhaps it is not rejection of capitalism per se, but the way that it has been practiced in a purely profit-driven way; capitalism is just part of the equation now and building a better world seems a more pressing issue.
Consumers are educating themselves and show their discernment by choosing not to buy from businesses they perceive to be ethically unsound, but they also show their delight in novel and interesting ways that businesses discover to make the world a better place. It’s great to see companies flexing their ethical muscles as they strive to find new solutions. Business receives its primary feedback through consumer reaction, positive and negative, and now, at a global level B Corps is also there as a force for good to support business and also to challenge it to stand up to the mark and continually improve.
“Being part of global movement of like minded companies who use business as a force for good is energising. We’re not in this alone — we have the B Corp community behind us — over 2400 other businesses in more than 50 countries. We learn from each other, and collectively we have significant influence to create positive change.
It is also an external recognition that we are an ethical business. You don’t have to take our word for it — the proof is in the certification process” says Sebastian Pole, Co-Founder of Pukka Herbs.
Interested in learning more about how B Corps are using business as a force for good? Head over to our Feel-Good Brands list to find out more about Rebel Kitchen, Ella’s Kitchen, Pukka, Patagonia, Doisy & Dam, Innocent and Toast.