Business as a force for good
Jonathan Normand Founder & Executive Director of B Lab Switzerland
For business to be a force for good, it needs to set standards, measure performance and improve its impact on all stakeholders.
B Lab has a vision that “one day all companies will compete to be not just the best in the world but also the best for the world.” To help achieve this it has developed B Corp certification, which enables businesses to measure and improve their social and environmental impact.
B Lab mobilizes the B Corp movement, the broader business community and governments to collectively address society’s most critical challenges.
To date, our community comprises more than 4,000 B Corporations in 70 countries and 150 different industries.
Over 100,000 companies also manage their impact on sustainability with our tools, such as the B Impact Assessment and the SDG Action Manager, a free tool co-developed with the UN Global Compact.
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Addressing green trade is integral to our system Our B Impact Assessment tool allows any company to measure its social and environmental impact on all stakeholders. It enables companies to assess, compare and improve their sustainability journey.
By managing their impact on the environment, companies get more points and move closer to our B Corp Certification, which recognizes businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability. B Corporations balance profit and purpose.
B Corp Certification promotes companies that are taking bold action to preserve our planet’s resources. Through climate-friendly practices and environmental initiatives, these companies continually assess their environmental footprint, including energy and materials usage, facilities, or supply chain.
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B Corporations constantly improve their impact as they need to recertify every three years and adhere to standards which become ever more stringent. As an impact measurement and management tool, the B Impact Assessment incorporates and complements a variety of other standards, certifications and impact measurement frameworks.
In September 2021, B Lab announced a new partnership with Fairtrade International around knowledge-sharing and collaboration for developing standards, advocacy, public campaigns and mobilization.
B Lab also promotes green trade through collective action and collaboration. For example, the B Corp Climate Collective is a group of Certified B Corporations working together on climate emergency.
Guided by the principle of interdependence, and part of the UNFCCC Race to Zero campaign, the B Corp Climate Collective encourages collaboration and exchange on reducing emissions and accelerating climate mitigation.
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More and more small businesses get certified
Interestingly enough, of the over 4,000 certified B Corporations, more than 75% are small or medium-sized enterprises. The operating environment (for example, taxation, regulation and public sourcing policy), as well as consumer expectations, are encouraging more and more companies to measure their impact and adopt a responsible approach.
The focus has clearly shifted beyond shareholder primacy to caring about impact– particularly social and environmental concerns. The challenge now for these small businesses is to demonstrate that their approach is both credible and sustainable.
Through B Corp Certification, small businesses publicly demonstrate that they are integrating social, environmental and governance concerns into their strategy and operations. Currently, there are over 600 small or medium-sized enterprises in the verification pipeline globally – compared to only 22 large-sized businesses.
Business must be a force for good. A clear paradigm shift is underway and all businesses, whether large or small, have an important role to play to balance prosperity, people and planet.
Since its founding in 2006, the B Corp movement has been about leadership.
We are living in a truly historic moment where the action we take today will have a direct and profound impact on the generations to come. The climate emergency is amplifying the inequities that already exist and unraveling our social fabric.
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