We envision a global economy that uses businesses as a force for good. This economy is comprised of a new type of corporation – the B Corp – which is purpose-driven and creates benefits for all stakeholders, not just shareholders.
You just read the vision of B Lab, the non-profit organisation behind the B Corp Certification, which grew into a global movement of 3905 (to date) certified B Corporations covering 74 countries, unifying 1 goal; people using business as a force for good. And this is just the beginning!
Some examples of B Corps are global multinational businesses others serve local communities with niche products. A couple of our favourites are:
- Patagonia “the B Corp Movement is one of the most important of our lifetime, built on the simple fact that business impacts and services more than just shareholders – it has an equal responsibility to the community and to the planet”. – Rose Marcario, CEO of Patagonia
- Greyston Bakery, they make the yummy cookie dough bits in Ben & Jerry’s, which is also a B Corp.
- Tony’s Chocolonely, If the team of The Green Sprint would be a bunch of chocolate bars we would definitely be Tony’s Chocolonely’s Caramel sea salt; bolt, creative, social and packed with little surprises.
- Coursera: is making life-transforming learning available for everyone, and I can speak from my own experience, it works!
- Holie: with their products you can munch on delicious hummus and crackers whilst helping to regreen the planet, I mean, that’s the dream right?
Okay so a bunch of clearly really cool companies joined the B Corp movement, but why should your organization hop on the wagon?
We have not just 10 but 13 reasons why your organization should become a B Corp. All 13 reasons are in addition to the one main driver, using business as a force for good to build a sustainable future for all!
1. Build trust and earn loyalty and respect from existing and future customers, employees and investors
One participant in a recent study explains why buying from B Corps is the right way to go “When I know that a product is B Certified, I trust how it was made. Instead, if a product mentions that it is eco-friendly, I have to ask someone to make sure that the product is really eco-friendly. If I know that it is B Certified, then I will quickly trust the product.”
The combination between 3rd party validation, full transparency, accountability results in consumers who trust in and are loyal to B Corps. Especially millennials & Gen Zs can be very strict in from whom they will or will not buy.
2. Tap into new customer segments
Tap into a new segment of customers or investors who are primarily interesting in buying from or investing in B Corps certified organisations.
According to a study by research firm Nielsen are 73% of GenZs and 84% willing to pay more for sustainable products. In a second study conducted by a non-profit consultancy, 40% of Gen Zs respondents stopped purchasing a brand that didn’t align with their values, and an additional 49% said they would consider doing this in the future. We now entered a massive movement of people who choose to vote with their wallet.
3. Build a future proof organization
Broaden your scope and move from a shareholder to a stakeholder perspective. Include all stakeholders, including shareholders into your business and start your journey to becoming a sustainable, inclusive and future-proof organization. The Founder of B Corp Inspiring Capital wrote in Forbes;
“in the last financial crisis, certified B Corps were 63% more likely to survive than other business of similar size.”Andrew Kassoy, Co-Founder B Lab
This is not surprising as B Corps focus on all stakeholders and are therefore more resilient than companies with a primary focus on shareholders alone.
4. Gain Credibility
The last couple of years the stores flooded with sustainability certifications, but they aren’t as trustworthy as we would like them to be. Consumers around the world lost trust in certifications because of untransparent practices, companies who start certify themselves and revealing documentaries like Cowspiracy & Seaspiracy. Consumers don’t blindly trust certifications anymore but they do trust 3rd party-validated, certification processes that get into the nitty-gritty of as business’s activities and practices.
5. Attract and engage the crème de la crème of the international workforce
B(ee) Corps are like honey for top talent. They are more likely to attract and engage employees, especially the younger ones who are looking for a purpose-driven career. The certification shows the purpose-driven and employee-centric culture of a company, this attracts employees who are seeking pleasant, equal and inclusive working environments.
It is not only easier to attract great employees, B Corps are also more likely to retain them. Working within purpose-driven businesses unleashes passion, imagination and initiative within employees and overall leads to happier people who are proud to be part of your workforce.
6. Become a part of the B Corp Community
Becoming a B Corp is more than just a certification process. Your organisation will join a global movement of purpose-driven, collaborative oriented organisations that want to use their business as a force for good. Together they are breaking down silo’s, accelerating sustainable innovation processes and pushing the transition to a new economy. Joining the movement gives you access to a network of external stakeholders who have specific sustainability expectations and who will collaborate to build a future proof economy.
7. Uncover & act on potential risks timely
The certification process makes you to go with a comb through your company, not everything you find and uncover will be pretty. But don’t fear, this a great opportunity for improvement. It enables your organisation to act upon and avoid potential risks that could have turned into costly missteps.
8. Uncover & communicate underexposed positive impact activities
Combing through your organisation won’t only uncover risks and area’s that need improvement, you might also find many underexposed activities with a positive impact. Communicating these initiatives can help you attract great employees, conscious customers and impact investors.
9. Benchmark to best practices within other industries
The certification process gives B Corps the opportunity to benchmark to best practices within their own and across other industries. This enables businesses to constantly develop and improve. Alone you go faster but together you go further definitely applies to the B Corp community.
10. Save operational costs
Many B Corps indicated that the B impact assessment processes helped them to minimize waste and optimize operational efficiencies. The aim of the B Corp certification is to optimize the positive impact for stakeholders and minimize the negative impact on our earth. Optimizing operational processes can get us one step closer to sustainable business practices. The certification process inspires constant innovation and uncovers potential areas of improvement which lead to operational cost savings.
11. Differentiate from other businesses in your sector
B Corps are riding the wave (and partly creating the wave) of consumer interest in sustainable products. Companies committed to sustainability have grown more than 4% whereas those who aren’t focused on sustainability grew less than 1% (Harvard business review).
12. Walk the Walk
Avoid the trap of Greenwashing and show your stakeholders that you are truly walking the walk. Voluntarily joining the B Corp movement shows that you are serious about using business as a force for good. You show that your organisation goes beyond setting up Corporate Social Responsibility programs as a PR stunt. You show that you integrated social, environmental responsibility into your core business. Walking the walk definitely feels better than talking the talk.
13. Accelerate your sustainable business development processes
Being a part of the B Corp community and working with the impact assessment tool makes it easier for your organisation to recognize, develop and monitor sustainable development opportunities, either alone or in collaboration with other B Corps. Look for example at B Corp Allbirds, they are partnering up with Adidas. By breaking out of their silo’s and bundling expertise they are designing what they believe to be the shoe with the world’s lowest carbon footprint.
Becoming a B Corps is not just about ticking a lot of boxes in the right way. It is about including environmental and social responsibility in the core business activities and culture, making sure that every fibre of the organisation is using business as a force for good. For many organisation this is a massive shift, which is not done over one night, it takes time, commitment, perseverance and a lot of innovative thinking.
We at The Green Sprint are combining Life Centered Innovation processes with the mind and -skill set of a B Leader. B Leaders are consultants who help companies through the B Corp certification process. As trained professionals we offer guidance and support to companies thinking about, preparing for or going through the B Corp certification process. Our passion for sustainable innovation processes combined with the B Leaders skills results in what we like to call ‘innovation as a force for good’.
To wrap it all up; the B Corp movement shows that there is tremendous power in businesses and consumers, the system as we know it is broken, we need to make the shift from destructive to regenerative capitalism and B Corps will lead the way.
Are you ready to become a B Corps?
Drop us a line to kick start your journey.
Minou & Pamela