To B or not to B? Why wouldn’t you B a B Corp?

It is so hard to know where to start writing a post about why you should be a B Corp as there are SO many great reasons.

Before we get into that it might be best to let you know what B Corps are.

What is a B Corp?

B Corps or Benefit Corporations are globally leading businesses that are operating as a force for good in the world. Rather than fighting to be the best in the world, they collaborate to be the best FOR the world.

To become one your business must pass a rigorous certification process where you need to score more than 80 out of 200 points on the B Impact Assessment. Businesses are assessed and benchmarked on how transparent and accountable they are across the five key areas of Governance, Workers, Customers, Community and Environment.

Fundamentally it is all about measuring the positive impact your business has and ensuring all stakeholders get to benefit from the activity of the business.Why would you want to consider being a B Corp? In my opinion I struggle to see why you wouldn’t be a B Corp.

I envision a world where being a B Corp is just how you run a business. To make it slightly easier to navigate here are the top three reasons why you should seek to certify.

1. It’s the right thing to do.

Right now, in New Zealand alone we are facing numerous challenges. Climate change, inequality, high rates of youth suicide, people sleeping in cars, increasingly unaffordable housing. These are traditionally areas that we have looked to Government to fix, but it’s more likely that real solutions will come from enterprise.

Every business can easily evaluate its impact on its workers, community, society and the environment and choose to have a positive impact. Choose to pay a living wage. Choose to use environmentally friendly products. Employ staff from disadvantaged backgrounds. Offer staff ownership in the business.

Ideally go even further and consider how your business could work to solve one or more of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. Have a watch of this compelling video and a read of this presentation by Prof David Griggs on how that could look for you.

Doing good to others is great for you also. Living a life of purpose and contribution is way more fulfilling than just being in business for the money. You only get one shot and a limited number of spins around the sun on this green and blue dot in the middle of the universe.

You might as well aim to leave a decent dent in it, right?

2. Lead a movement, don’t get left behind.

As a Brand Manager for a large multinational based in NZ I recently spoke to said: “The purpose driven economy is not a trend. This is now table stakes”.

In New Zealand, there is an opportunity for you and your business to help lead the movement. Unilever has identified a global market opportunity of $1 Trillion dollars for businesses that choose to care.

This is reflected in NZ where in the Colmar Brunton Better Futures report it is clearly identified that Kiwi’s want to support brands that care. They just can’t name any! We need business leaders to step up and B the Change.

Most recently Blackrock Investments made it very clear that if you want investment or to do business in the future you need to consider your social impact.

Those that take that leadership will win out in the long run, whist other business will fall into irrelevance.

If you are a Kiwi business looking to export in the US, UK or Australia then there is a significant opportunity for you.

Just look at how Ethique has taken off in the US. Similarly, Eagle Protect (the first B Corp in NZ) has recently set up shop in the US also.

3. Build a Better Business

Just by taking the B Impact Assessment you will most likely identify areas for growth and development in your business. Businesses that pass the Impact Assessment can proudly state that their businesses are held to world leading standards of transparency and accountability.

Customers are caring more about the transparency and accountability of business. They want to know what good you are doing and that it has been verified and accredited by a third party. The B Corp certification is not pay for play and it totally avoids any risk of greenwash.

Internally, 50% of your leadership team will likely be completely lacking meaning in their working life. 70% of your staff probably don’t want to be there. Having a sense of purpose and real mission is more likely to ignite your staff to greatness.

The next generation entering the workforce are driving this and they are making up an ever larger proportion of your workforce and consumer base. Lastly there is a ton of evidence that shows that businesses that care and are truly purpose driven outperform their peers (see further reading below the article).

This has been identified by such socialist, tree hugging groups as EY, Deloitte and PwC. This is also being reflected by the growing demand for more ethical investments.

There are plenty of reasons why you should look at certifying as B Corp, however the reason will be very individual for each business or business owner.

If you would like to discuss your specific business and how being a B Corp could help then please connect with me.

Further Reading

For more information on the many benefits of being purpose driven please see this list of links:

A model of the impact of mission statements on firm performance

5 Key Business Trends to Master in 2016 - Be like a "B Corp"

Prosocial Incentives Increase Employee Satisfaction and Team Performance

How Do Leaders Bring Purpose to Life in Organisations?

Are You Leading With Purpose? Here’s Proof Of Why You Should!

The pursuit of purpose: from aspiration to value creation Executive roundtables in Davos

THE BUSINESS CASE FOR PURPOSE EY and Harvard Business Review

Investor Tip: Look For Purpose-Driven Companies

Purpose-Driven Companies Are Driving The New Economy

Why Businesses That Are Purpose-Driven Come Out on Top

The Science Behind What Really Drives Performance (It's Going to Surprise You)

Boycotts and the bottom line

Corporate Philanthropy and Productivity: Evidence from an Online Real Effort Experiment

How Great Companies Think Differently

Companies that Practice “Conscious Capitalism” Perform 10x Better

Why Companies Are Becoming B Corporations

Sustainability Pays Studies That Prove the Business Case for Sustainability

Vulnerability & Loyalty In The Purpose Driven Company: An Interview With Dov Baron

Why Purpose-Driven Companies Are Often More Successful

Every Purchase You Make Is A Chance To Vote With Your Wallet

Companies with a purpose beyond profit tend to make more money

PwC - Putting Purpose to Work: A study of purpose in the workplace

The Deloitte Millennial Survey 2016 - Millennials want business to shift its purpose

The Science Is In: Greater Equality Makes Societies Healthier

Business School’s Worst Idea: Why the “Maximize Shareholder Value” Theory Is Bogus

#BCorp #Meaning #Impact #Purpose


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