On the eve of my departure for the States to attend the B Corporation Champions Retreat with Aimee Marks, founder of TOM Organic (one of the Small Giants Family of companies and Australia’s third B corp), it seems fitting to reflect on why Small Giants decided to become a B Corp in the first place.
Making the choice to be B (pun very much intended – thanks Bec McHenry for the wonderful tag line) was an easy one for Small Giants, as an organisation always trying to ‘be the change we want to see in the world’, the values of the certification were a natural fit.
The benefits and value of becoming a B Corp to companies are many and varied (especially in the States, where the community has exponentially grown in the short time it has been around). These include a differentiated brand, strengthening mission, wonderful promotion and marketing opportunities, and the benefits of joining a strong and supportive business community.
But, for us, it was about more than that. For us it was also the fact that the B Corp certification accounts both for the “what”and the “how” of good business.
Let me explain what I mean.
The mission of B lab (the not for profit behind the B Corporation certification) is to harness the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. This mission has resulted in a community of companies (over 700 strong) that are doing things like reselling old books and reducing land fill, producing organic non toxic products and reducing chemicals and pesticides sprayed into the air or making green wine bottles. This, of course is wonderful, these businesses are exemplars of the way business can solve environmental and social problems and this is fantastic.
That said, however, equally important to the B Corp certification is “how” these businesses do this. B Corporations are also great places to work, they treat their employees with respect and enable them to take ownership through enlightened policies, they partner with suppliers who share their values and implement environmental and other policies. In short, B Corporations do good things in a good way!
The certification is thus available to any type of company (with the exception of those whose raison d’etre is to harm the environment and society) who wants to operate according to these values.
It is this holistic approach to good business that so impressed us at Small Giants and is one of the key reasons why we made our decision to become the first B Corp in Australia and catalyze the B Corp community in our region. Here at Small Giants we want to see a thriving Australian B-Corp community, bringing together inspiring companies to learn, leverage skills and networks, and to create a movement for better business. We also see incredible potential for advocacy around legislative shifts to create a more fertile environment for social entrepreneurs, social finance and responsible business. Together with many other like-minded individuals and organisations, we see it as our role and responsibility to drive this movement and to create the world we want to live in.