B Corps: Sustainability, Managing Incentives, B Lab

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๐Ÿ” Problem

Most businesses put financial profit above all else.

๐Ÿ’ก Solution

B Corps consider social and environmental impact as well as financial profit.

They rely on a triple bottom line that accounts for the planet, people and profit. Known as the 3Ps.

๐Ÿ“˜ Terms

B Lab
A global nonprofit that serves a movement of people using business as a force for good. B Lab issues B Corp certifications, administers impact management programs and advocates for governance structures like the benefit corporation.

B Corp
A for-profit corporation that meets social, environmental, transparency and accountability standards set by the B Lab. B Corps must re-certify every three years to maintain their status and pay an annual fee ranging from $500 to $50,000, depending on annual sales. There are over 3,300 certified B Corps in 71 countries.

Benefit Corporation
Not to be confused with B Corp certification. This legal designation commits companies to higher standards of purpose, accountability and transparency. This protects a company’s mission through capital raises and leadership changes. It creates flexibility when evaluating potential sale or liquidity options and prepares businesses to lead a mission-driven life post-IPO. Seems unnecessary? See why Ben & Jerry’s was forced to take an offer and sell the company.

๐Ÿ Players

B Corps

B Corp Founders

๐Ÿ”ฎ Predictions

  • B Corps will use their status to attract talent. The B Corp and Open Startup movements double as marketing campaigns to attract customers and employees.
  • Lots of B2C companies will seek B Corp certifications. Consumer brands can weave this into storytelling for higher margins in price-elastic markets.

โ˜๏ธ Opportunities

  • Build a list or directory of B Corps. The current directory is slow with limited filtering options.
  • Make a niche job board to help B Corps that are hiring. Use job listings from another site and merge based on company names.
  • Aggregate a list of deals for B Corps. Companies, such as Manoverboard, have exclusive discounts aimed at B Corps.
  • Create a newsletter to share the stories behind newly certified B Corps. The B Lab directory lets you sort by certification date.

๐Ÿ˜  Haters

“How the hell is Ben & Jerry’s a B Corp? Or New Belgium Brewery?”
It’s beer and ice cream… Sure. Would it be better if they weren’t B Corps? Other companies do less to address social and environmental issues. Plus… We need some fun. Loosen up.

๐Ÿ”— Links

  1. A Refugee Workforce: The Secret to Solving the U.S. Labor Shortage โ€” Chris Chancey solves the need for talent while helping refugees.
  2. How To Build a Social Enterprise in Tours and Activities โ€” Zakia Moulaoui came up with a way to address homelessness and aid tourism.
  3. Making a Sustainable Difference โ€” Sasha Kramer transitioned SOIL from non-profit to for-profit to make the mission sustainable. She shares valuable insights into human nature and managing incentives.
  4. How to B a Force for Good โ€” Anthea Kelsick talks about the importance of systems change and how companies use their B Corp status as a marketing tool.
  5. What we’re getting wrong in the fight to end hunger โ€” Jasmine Crowe explains why logistics, not scarcity, is at the root of global hunger. Similar to B Lab, she takes a systems change approach with Goodr.
  6. Bill Gates on Advice For Founders, Mistakes, and Philanthropy โ€” Bill Gates talks about measuring profit in terms of lives saved instead of profit gained.
  7. Why It’s Time to Re-Evaluate the Economy โ€” Yancey Strickler shares the concept of Bentoism and the story behind Kickstarter becoming a benefit corporation.
  8. From Nonprofit to Social Enterprise: Insights & Lessons Learned on a 15 Year Entrepreneurial Journey โ€” Rahama Wright talks about the ups and downs of entrepreneurship. She’s a great storyteller.