What is a B Corp & why are companies becoming certified?
A B Corp is a for-profit business that has social and/or environmental outcomes as part of its mission. The B Corp movement seeks to redefine success in business so that one day all companies will compete not only to be the best in the world, but the best for the world. B Corps change their Company Articles to treat the interests of all stakeholders equally. So, if traditional business is about maximising shareholder return, B Corps are about operating to create value for workers, the community, the environment and shareholders. This is an exciting global movement of more than 2,140 companies across 130 industries and 50 countries. They include businesses like Patagonia, Hootsuite, Ben & Jerry’s, COOK foods and many more.
Why are companies becoming a B Corp?
Any organisation that is for-profit and operating in a competitive market can become a B Corp. Charities can’t as they are not-for-profit but Community Interest Companies (CIC’s) can. By becoming a certified B Corporation, companies are voluntarily meeting higher standards of transparency, accountability and performance. These companies are distinguishing themselves in a busy marketplace by offering a positive vision of a better way to do business. It’s been said that the B Corp certification is to businesses what fair trade is to coffee.
Statistics show that B Corps generally create higher quality jobs and improve the quality of life in communities. As the movement grows it has become an increasingly powerful agent of change. Identifying as a B Corp is a way to publicly claim an identity as an organisation interested in both shareholder and stakeholder success. By having a clear identity, firms can communicate their values to customers, which is hugely beneficial when they are trying to differentiate themselves from the industry norm. #bethechange
The first cohort of B Corps were certified in 2007 and the organisation was set up in the US. In 2015 the UK B Corp community was officially launched with 62 certified members. These founding B Corps come from all over the UK and represent over 15 different industries, creating revenue of around £425m and employing over 3000 people in areas such as IT, professional services, finance, retail and education.
To find out about how to become certified as a B Corp or companies that are B Corps then go towww.bcorporation.uk or www.bcorporation.net.