What’s a ‘B Corp’? I hear some of you ask.
B Corp is to business what Fair Trade is to coffee. It’s a global movement with a vision – that businesses working together as a force for good can change the world. The B Corp movement’s dream is that companies will compete not only to be the best in the world – but to be the best for the world.
How can a company genuinely want to do good – surely this will distract it from its single goal of maximising financial profit for owners or shareholders? Yes, we all know of corporations which pride themselves on their support of charities or pro-bono work, but these are a very small walk-on parts in the wings compared with the main performance: maximising profits.
As it turns out, being a force for good and increasing profits are not mutually exclusive goals at all – quite the reverse. Companies with social, community and environmental responsibility at the core of their operations have achieved advantages in the marketplace, lower rates of attrition amongst employees and clients, increased productivity and motivation of staff, and, consequently increased profits – all of this as well as making a positive difference in the lives of both stakeholders and the community. This is a new paradigm for capitalism. The economic system that has been the most successful in history in terms of raising standards and quality of living globally need not implode as a result of its own inherent excesses.
Green Element had heard about the B Corp movement, and when a client expressed an interest in looking into joining the growing number of companies who are Certified B Corps, we decided to find out more. What we found amazed and inspired us. The B Corp movement is not just another ‘standard’, not simply an aspiration or vision; it offers a systemic, concrete, market-based and scalable solution to society’s greatest challenges – passing laws, driving capital, improving the quality of lives across the world .
Green Element’s MD, William Richardson, discovered that the B Corp standard brought together all of the disparate social, governance, community, environmental and employee standards to which our company already subscribed – and so much more. The B Corp standard made us look deep into our organisation, examine each aspect of our conduct in depth, and feel proud to have already been moving in the same direction of travel as the B Corp movement. Being part of the B Corp community, and being able to embed those sustainability and responsibility principles into the DNA of the company to protect the Green Element mission, made it crystal clear to Will that becoming a Certified B Corp was the right move.
So Will took Green Element through the three-step process of becoming a certified B Corp:
- Meet the performance requirement by achieving at least 80 points out of a possible 200 on the B Impact Assessment
- Meet the legal requirement by amending governing documents or adopting benefit corporation status
- Make it official by signing the B Corp declaration of Interdependence
Since then, we have been able to share knowledge and experience with our fellow B Corps companies in the UK and further afield, we’ve found that our clients are interested and impressed that we’re a B Corp and want to find out more, and we as a company have a sense of belonging to a community of like-minded people, and renewed drive to achieve best practice in every piece of work, not just in terms of efficiency but in all of the B Corp pillars: governance, community, workers, environment. We’re excited about the future, being a part of this positive movement in an ever more turbulent world.