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Why would a business want to be a B Corp?


Real Intent, No PR BS

Question to ask yourself: How can you demonstrate to people you aren't just another company with more messaging than substance?

To become a B Corp is to move from talking about being a business that is trying to do something meaningful with its role in the world to demonstrating the fact.

It is too much work to be a B Corp for marketing or PR purposes.

If you don't want to do - or be thought to do - the minimum that sounds good, B Corp is a serious option to go about that.

The mission lock element - via the legal change - enables you to protect the company’s mission.

A Framework for Change

Question to ask yourself: If you aren't going to the B Corp framework, do you have something equally powerful and credible to use?

At Shoremount, we talk about B Corp being like your skeleton: something for all the various thinking and activity going in in this arena to gather around and anchor from. It provides an overarching, common narrative for it all.

For many companies, pulling together a framework and accompanying resources to help them think holistically is too challenging, resource intensive or open to missing blind spots.

The B Impact Assessment will also allow you to measure and benchmark on an ongoing basis.

Talent Retention/Attraction

Question to ask yourself: How can you take the promise of a great place to work to another level?

If you want the best people you have to get real about the nature and purpose of the workplace you provide.

Just as the system is awash with statistics of people who want to buy from more sustainable companies, the same is true of employment. Even the once "elite" brands are now struggling to hold on to their best people unless they move in this direction.

"I applied because you're a B Corp" is something  B Corps are regularly told.

Brand & Reputation

Question to ask yourself: Can you maintain reputation excellence without a third party keeping you challenged, honest and forward thinking?

The B Corp brand is ever increasingly a marker for quality and authenticity. If you want a business that is seen as at the top of its game, or a thought leader, then B Corp has become the creme de la creme community to be part of.

Catapulting Forward: Making Up For Lost Time

Question to ask yourself: Would you like to make concentrated and accelerated steps forward?

An increasing number of firms start down the B Corp journey to make up for lost time in recent years where investing across environmental, social and governance issues has been lower down the list or priorities.

That lack of time spent has created a gap between where they are and where they want to be. Pursuing B Corp and the framework it offers enables those firms to catapult forward and, in many cases, overtake rivals who have slowed their progress. 

Performance

Question to ask yourself: Do you believe  the future of the marketplace involves more sustainable and purpose-led companies?

There is a wealth of data that supports the idea that businesses with a holistic approach outperform those that don't (see: "What evidence is there for a 'better', more conscientious approach to business?"). You can take this approach without being a B Corp, but the accountability, inspiration and access to resources that the B Corp community provides can put rocket fuel in your efforts.

Collective voice, Collaborative Community

Question to ask yourself: Would it help your stakeholders to feel part of a community that was bigger, more inspiring and more informative than the stories you can tell about yourself?

Being a B Corp puts you within a bigger story and community. It is a movement before it is a certification. This is particularly good for employees who can then find it easier to connect with what you are up to through awareness of the other B Corp brands.

It is also a highly collaborative community with an extensive quantity of idea sharing, resource pooling, problem tackling and new possibility creating at work.

Investment

Question to ask yourself: Do you want to be aligned with the direction of travel for the wider investment community and capital markets?

B Corps also attract investment, with over $2 Billion invested in them so far. Almost every major Silicon Valley investor now owns a stake in a B Corp. And there are also a growing number of public companies taking interest in B Corps - from both an acquisition and partnership perspective.

See: "How are investors engaging with B Corp?"

Global Market Trends

Question to ask yourself: Do you believe global market trends are aligned with the ways of being that B Corps are in pursuit of?

The marketplace is shifting ever further towards a more conscientious approach to products and services. If the 20th Century was the age of the Shareholder, then the 21st looks well set to be that of the Stakeholder. The B Corp model is well placed to address the key areas of concern going forward, including:

  • Governance
  • Investors
  • Customer Trust
  • Sustainable Development Goals
  • Employee Experience


Common Identities

Question to ask yourself: Are you any of the below or something else?

Different people have different motivations for pursuing the B Corp model. B Lab UK has identified six common ones; all are valid and many people fall into more than one.

The No Brainer
“This is why I started my business. No explanation needed.”
The Authentics
“We want to put our values into practice.”
The Disruptors
“We’re growing and we want something to help us stand out.”
The Philosophers
“The old narrative is broken. We want an alternative that works.”
The Provocateurs
“Our clients are cynical about the private sector and we want a new stance.”
The Incentivised
“Our investors/parent company want us to do this.”


But what about…?

Three of the most common FAQs at this point are:

This sounds like just another certification: “What’s different about the B Corp certification vs the others that are available?”

This sounds like it might not be applicable to my particular context: “Is the B Corp movement only for a particular type/size of business?”

This sounds like more of the same: “We’re already doing lots of sustainability work: why would we want to look at the B Corp model as well?”

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  1. John Featherby

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