What is a B Corp? Are They The Future of Business?

Why Change is Needed

What actions does a company take when its accountability rests in the hands of its shareholders? Does it do everything in its power to protect the environment? Go above and beyond its duty to treat employees with dignity and respect? These question marks are, of course, rhetorical. When given the ‘freedom’ to act to their corporate interests, insatiable greed has absolute rule. 

 

This is apparent in both the public perception of corporations and the visible impact their greed is having on us all. Is it any surprise that only 17% of respondents have ‘very favorable’ views on large corporations? Probably not when we consider, as NRDC puts it: “100 energy companies have been responsible for 71% of all industrial emissions since human-driven climate change was officially recognized.” The stark contrast between employee and boss has only been exacerbated by the COVID pandemic. The combined wealth of billionaires increased by $1.7 trillion in just one year. When this runs parallel to a time when 86 million Americans lost their jobs due to the virus this makes it “all the more appalling,” according to inequality.org. All these factors mean that the often used rhetoric of ‘returning to normal’ once COVID finally disappears isn’t possible. We need a better system and we need it now.

Remember, this article’s purpose is to define B Corps and the power this certification can have. Check out ‘The ultimate guide to social enterprises,’ to learn more about this awesome movement!

A third of all emissions are from 20 companies. We can’t accept this as normal

However easy it is to wallow in pity, or have nightmares over a dystopian tomorrow, this isn’t another article that’s going to berate CEOs or cry bitterly over the state of the world. Because Doing Good Works is a glass-half-full kind of company, we’re going to look at how the future of business can create a better tomorrow for everyone.

 

We believe that the future of business can be one where the workplace can be democratized to work with its employees rather than control them. A world where the environment is placed above shareholder dividends. That’s why we believe in the B Corp as the perfect balance between corporate responsibilities while maintaining an innovative and competitive free marketplace.

B Corps are on a Mission to Change the World

B Corps began its business revolution in 2006 as a way to counteract the threats we face as a consequence of the unregulated capitalism that we explained above. Jay Coen Gilbert, co-founder of the B Corp movement initiated a new style of business that “would publicly hold them [companies] accountable for the ways they benefited workers, communities, the environment, and customers.” Gilbert understood that the “short-termism” of traditional corporations where stock price triumphed over the business’ and environmental sustainability was deeply flawed. 

 

Gilbert, along with fellow co-founders Andrew Kassoy and Bart Houlahan, determined that the future of business was where social, environmental, and worker protections had to be obligatorily met. Where profit had to be balanced by purpose. Instead of empty platitudes that goals Y and Z will be met by year such-and-such, B Corps have legally bound rules that require a company to consider the worker, environment, and the community before it proceeds with its business plan. 

 

B Corps are also far more dynamic than traditional companies. Every two years a B Corp is rated to see if they still comply with these strict criteria. Fail, and they lose their status. These criteria are constantly evolving to meet the requirements of the day, making B Corps more adaptable than traditional companies. The amazing thing about these targets is that they help B Corps continue to improve on their positive impact over time.

We can continue to evolve our technology while caring for the planet… the B Corp model is our best chance of success

Making Business Work for Us All

B Corps are run a little differently from ‘normal’ companies but that doesn’t mean profit is neither pursued nor possible. Not only can B-Corps grow and be financially sustainable, but there are also elements of B-Corps that make them better placed to deliver long-term financial returns compared to how traditionally run businesses operate. There are a couple of key reasons why.

 

First, let’s look at the employees of a business. The Worker section of the Impact Assessment survey evaluates the company’s relationship with its workforce. By treating employees with the highest possible care, workers can be more motivated at work, stay at the company for longer, and have a genuine enthusiasm for the work they are doing. A Gallup study found that employees work 20% better when motivated, making this a win for everybody! 

 

B Corps are also committed to a more democratized workforce. Business decisions that involve whole teams rather than designated in the hands of just one or two execs, can help employees feel more valued and can help deliver better results for the company. This is thanks in part due to their understanding of the day-to-day logistics of the business. These actions can not only empower employees but help deliver long-term sustainability and profit to a business. 

 

Did you know that B Corps and Benefit Corps are NOT the same things? And that other ‘B’ organizations include B Lab and B The Change? For those curious, read ‘The Ultimate Guide to the ‘B’ Movement’.

Custom kits that are fully sustainable inside and out are the future of print promo

Another way a B Corp can use its unique attributes to increase its revenue streams is how its core ideals are aligned with those of the general public. There is a growing trend towards going sustainable. Whether it’s veganism seeing a 400% boom, or 69% of BBC respondents saying that they were doing everything possible to minimize their carbon footprint (up from 63% just a year earlier). Consumer behavior has allowed eco-friendly and sustainable businesses to not only emerge but thrive. Customers are more likely to purchase from a company that genuinely cares about the environment and the community. B Corporations sums it up best: “People want to work for, buy from, and invest in businesses they believe in.”

The next generation of consumers isn’t too keen on planet-killing companies Picture courtesy of Strategy business

The Proof is in the Pudding

We understand that it’s one thing to try and persuade a business to become a B Corp, it’s another thing entirely to run a company that can make a profit while simultaneously having to comply with all the extra social and environmental responsibility that comes with being a B Corp. I mean, where’s the proof? 

There are plenty of famous companies that are B Corps. One of the biggest is Patagonia. Despite having hundreds of stores on five continents, the company is still at the forefront of environmental activism

 

Ben & Jerry’s is another household name that is a part of the movement. Not only do they make some of the best ice creams on the planet but they continue to strive in eliminating social injustice across the USA. Not only this but Ben & Jerry’s gives a portion of its profits to charity. So for this company, the proof really is in the pudding! 

 

Right now there are over 4,000 businesses across the world that proudly carry the B Corp certification. While they’re not all at the same size as Patagonia and Ben & Jerry’s, there’s plenty of proof that businesses large and small can thrive while operating under the B Corp banner. 

One More Thing

Creating invaluable experiences for employees shouldn’t cost the earth. It’s why these custom kits are all created using sustainable products, without breaking the bank. This list is proof that no matter what your goals are with custom kits, there’s an eco-friendly way of wowing employees. If you’re interested in any of the ideas listed above or have your own ideas of how to boost your business’ engagement through custom kits simply fill in this form so we can begin creating fully-customized products for your business. Alternatively, call us on 949-354-0400 to speak directly with one of our experts.

 

As a B Corp, DGW Branded takes pride in thinking beyond profit. We want to see the world as equitable as possible, where everyone is given an equal opportunity to shine. That’s why we write articles such as this one. 

 

For our own company, we prove our commitments to this by hiring those from the foster care system to help pack our orders. Find out more about our workforce program, and how your purchase can help former foster youth here.

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.

 

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