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What evidence is there that B Corps outperform?

Organisations that think and behave in more purpose-driven ways outperform those that don't. See: "What data and evidence is there for a "better", more purpose-driven approach to business?".

Given B Corps are viewed as a gold standard within that paradigm, it follows that they outperform too. But what evidence is there for them as a group specifically?

There hasn't been much analysis specifically of B Corps. The number of B Corps is small: there are only 3,000 globally (as of Nov 2019). The movement only began in 2007: it takes time to capture research attention and have a timeframe for performance analysis. Most B Corps are privately owned: financial data is less visible and accessible.

But the research that does exist is positive. So far, it shows the following.

Positive Performance

  • During the 2008 financial crisis, certified B Corps had an impressive 50.48% revenue growth rate. (Chen, Xiujian and Kelly, School of Management, Binghamton, 2014)
  • B Corps had a greater revenue growth rate than public firms of comparable size during the Great Recession and in each year of 2006-2011. (Chen, Xiujian and Kelly, School of Management, Binghamton, 2014)
  • The average brand rank across all consumer companies is 5, but 93% of B Corps companies we analyzed scored above that average. In fact, 75% of B Corps scored a 9 or 10 on brand rank. (Helios Machine Learning Research, CircleUp)
  • The growth rate of B Corps to be 49%, compared to a 15% rate among other companies in the same category (Dowling, 2018)
  • Among B corps whose treatment of employees is recognized as an “area of excellence” (reflective of successful social activity beyond traditional CSR), employee productivity is significantly higher. (Romi & Cook, Texas Tech, 2018)
  • One- and three-year sales growth rates are significantly higher for B corps relative to their matches. (Romi & Cook, Texas Tech, 2018)
  • Among B corps whose treatment of consumers is recognized as an “area of excellence,” sales growth is significantly higher. (Romi & Cook, Texas Tech, 2018)
  • In February 2018, 44 UK B Corps had recertified since launch. The average growth in revenue for these companies over 2 years is 28% (14% p.a.) B Lab UK, 2018

Negative Performance

In the interest of balance, here is the research with a more negative outcome:

  • A short-term growth slowdown arises from certification, which is more pronounced for the smallest and youngest firms. (Parker, Moroz, Gamble, Branzi, Academy of Management, 2018)
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  1. John Featherby

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