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.
In 2017, UK B Corps grew 28 times faster UK GDP, with average year-on-year growth being 14%. 35% of UK B Corps found they attracted new audiences after certifying and 48% found that prospective staff were attracted to the business specifically because it was a B Corp.
B Corps also attract investment, with over $1 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.
Global Market Trends
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:
- Customer Trust
- Sustainable Development Goals
- Employee Experience
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.”
||“We want to put our values into practice.”
||“We’re growing and we want something to help us stand out.”
||“The old narrative is broken. We want an alternative that works.”
||“Our clients are cynical about the private sector and we want a new stance.”
||“Our investors/parent company want us to do this.”
B Corp Benefits
The value proposition of being a B Corp is broad. In summary:
Protect the company’s mission; stakeholder, not shareholder; empower leadership team.
Trade with like-minded businesses
Global trading; built-in due diligence; aligned values.
Being part of something bigger; market leaders; finding your tribe; getting the word out; challenging business as usual.
Measure; manage and improve; benchmark; inform strategy; engage employees.
Best practice sharing; collaboration; global consistency.
The B Corp brand is ever increasingly a marker for quality and authenticity.
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?”