California, It’s Time to B Corp

 

At the time of writing, there are over 4,000 B Corps in 70 countries. From Austria to Zambia, it’s never been more accessible to become a B Corp or discover the ‘business with purpose’ philosophy that we’re trying to inspire. After all, one B Corp can’t do everything. As we highlighted in our Stronger Together article, it’s only through unity and collaboration that we will see the business revolution that we all want to see – every business follow the B Corp assessment. The four key elements that B Impact assesses are community togetherness, transparent governance, employee welfare, and protecting the planet. 

 

We want to see the B Corp philosophy be established as the default option for every business. While we’re still far away from achieving this ultimate objective, the numbers keep going up. Despite 70 countries having at least one B Corp certified business, the majority are still here in the USA. And which state in the USA has the most B Corps, why it’s here in sunny California! But why? What’s California’s secret in having more purpose-driven companies than anywhere else in the world? And can every state, and indeed every country, follow their guidelines so we can grow the B Corp number exponentially? This article will answer these questions. What California’s doing to attract B Corps, and what tips the state can give the rest of the country, and the world, into maximizing a business’ good. 

 

Why California?

When thinking of progressive US states, ones that look to the future with optimism rather than reminiscing with nostalgia of a bygone time, we usually think of California.  California is probably the most progressive state in America. Current California Governor Gavin Newsom has recently signed some of the most progressive environmental protection acts in recent US history. There’s no doubt, therefore, that this state prioritizes accountability, equality, and a healthy environment. All things that align with the B Corp philosophy. While we don’t like to go into politics much, the more the values of B Corps are vocalized by politicians and the media as the ideal way to run a more equitable society, the greater the likelihood that more B Corp style businesses will emerge. 

 

There’s also California’s history of innovation to consider. Silicon Valley is as ubiquitous to the state as surfing and Hollywood. While the Silicon tech supergiants aren’t B Corps, their impact is undeniable. The tradition of California as the pinnacle of startup success has certainly helped boost B Corp numbers in the state. With trillion-dollar corporations sharing your zip code it’s easy to see where the inspiration comes from. 

While we know not every city can boast the number of success stories as Silicon valley that doesn’t mean building a brilliant business is impossible. Just think: there’s are lots of flourishing B Corps in California despite having heavy competition from some of the biggest names in the business world. If these B Corps can succeed against some industry giants being in a place without so much competition the chances of making it big is even greater. 

 

California is leading the way with B Corps. Will the rest of America catch up?

Nothings Perfect

 

While California is home to more B Corps than any other state, they aren’t distributed evenly over the region. The Bay Area is where most B Corps are located and, coupled with Los Angeles, it becomes clear that it’s typically where economically strong, urban areas where the movement is flourishing. 

 

The reasoning for this is pretty simple. Products sold by B Corps tend to be a little pricier than competitors. That’s not because we’re greedy (far from it!) but because of how we operate. 

 

A tacky plastic bottle manufactured in horrifying sweatshops is inevitably going to be less expensive to make compared to, let’s say, a high-quality bamboo bottle made by workers who receive fair pay and a safe and clean working environment. Those in affluent areas have a higher density of consumers who can afford to pay a little extra for a more ethical product. 

 

It takes more than a B Corp to combat this. Efforts have to be made on a system-wide level to address the inequality that’s causing large numbers of consumers who are forced to shop cheaper, even if their preference is to support a more ethical business. 

And on the policy side, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts recently introduced the Accountable Capitalism Act, which directly cites benefit-corporation legislation as the norm for the entire country and would give it more teeth for enforcement.

 

In this graph, we can see the concentration of B Corps in the most affluent areas of California

Moving Forward

This article was written to shine a light on how B Corps operate in the place that has the most of them. We wanted to show that while B Corps features in their highest density in California, that doesn’t mean that we should attune our provenance to precisely the same framework as The Golden State. 

 

Instead, we should focus on taking the best bits of California – progressive social considerations, and innovative start-up culture. At the same time, we can improve upon characteristics of the state that can help B Corps flourish all over and not just the more affluent areas. The fewer obstacles that are placed upon B Corps the more we can help redefine what business success looks like – a planet that’s ecologically sustainable, a community that flourishes because, rather than in spite of, the businesses that operate there, – will we improve upon the Californian method. 

 

 

DGW Branded is a proud B Corp member, and yes, we’re also from California! We pride ourselves on going the extra mile for the planet, as well as our work in the community. What you may not know is we hire those from the foster care system to help pack our orders. To find out more about our workforce program, please visit this section of our website.

 

While we hope we’ve clarified some of the roles and responsibilities of each section of the B Corp movement, we’re always willing to help other businesses succeed in their societal and environmental responsibilities, please leave a comment if you have any questions. For your business needs, you can also speak to one of our experts to find out how DGW Branded can provide you with custom items for promo and staff needs.

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