Trends #0020 — B Corps

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🔍 Problem

Most businesses put financial profit above all else.

💡 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.

📘 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.

🏁 Players

B Corps

B Corp Founders

🔮 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.

☁️ 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.

😠 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.

🔗 Links

  1. A Refugee Workforce: The Secret to Solving the U.S. Labor ShortageChris Chancey solves the need for talent while helping refugees.
  2. How To Build a Social Enterprise in Tours and ActivitiesZakia Moulaoui came up with a way to address homelessness and aid tourism.
  3. Making a Sustainable DifferenceSasha 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 GoodAnthea 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 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 PhilanthropyBill Gates talks about measuring profit in terms of lives saved instead of profit gained.
  7. Why It’s Time to Re-Evaluate the EconomyYancey 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 JourneyRahama Wright talks about the ups and downs of entrepreneurship. She’s a great storyteller.