B Corporations Use Business as a force for good

A new type of Organizations

B Corporations are a type of hybrid organizations that can be private or public. Companies applying for the B Corporation certification can be of any size, structure or location. They voluntarily applied for the certification and obtained it from a non-profit organization called B Lab, founded in 2006 and certified B Corporation in 2007. In order to get the certification, organizations must meet high standards of overall social and environmental performance as well as transparency standards (B Corporation website). The B Lab Impact assessment measures the impact of companies’ activities on their workers, on the community and on the environment. This is evaluated through a survey, constructed and analyzed by the B Lab, of 215 questions on 5 topics: accountability, employees, consumers, community and environment. Organizations must reach a score of at least 80 over 200 (Chen and Kelly, 2014). Thanks to the certification, B Corporations can take advantage of services and support from the B Lab. This non-profit organization is continuously trying to attract new capital through its GIRS (Global Impact Rating System) (Chen and Kelly, 2014).

A worldwide movement: 1,953 B Corporations in 50 countries among 130 industries with only 1 unifying goal

B Corporation is a worldwide movement that gave birth to a global community creating value internally for each of its member. B Lab allowed the establishment of a vast network of partner organizations in order to encourage and assist its members. The movement is driven by strong beliefs; “Be the change we seek in the world”, “All business ought to be conducted as if people and place matter”, “through their products, practices, and profits, businesses should aspire to do no harm and benefit all” (B Corporation – Declaration of interdependence).

A “new kind” of companies offering a win-win for everyone by focusing on the triple bottom line: people, planet, and profits. You can only exploit people and planet so long as you will soon run out of those “resources” to exploit. Here are links to a couple blog entries that give a bit more of my thinking on this topic."

The B Corporation movement has known a very rapid development over the past few years. This new type of global community has become extremely attractive thanks to a number of motivations, the two biggest ones being; “Branding strategy” and “Societal impact”. Chen and Kelly (2014) analyze how B Corporations became that successful in such a short amount of time, as well as, their attractiveness and positioning in communities’ minds. It resulted that organizations that became B Corporations can benefit from a unique strategic brand image. They are seen as unique suppliers of products and services supporting specific values and they attract a larger scale of socially conscious customers who prefer to purchase from them, talented and more committed employees sharing the same social values and strategic investors enabling B Corporations to raise more capital as they show good financial, social and environmental performances.

Reshaping Capitalism

“Capitalism is becoming less obsessed with revenue and more focused on creating social value (…). If 20th century was obsessed with maximizing financial returns, then the 21st century will be all about creating social value” (Andrew Kassoy, founder of the B Lab)

And Generating Social Innovation

Social innovation belongs to their DNA, it is at the heart of their corporate culture and business strategies. It is not just a way to compete and beat competitors, it is part of everything they do and every strategic decision they make.

From Theory to Practice: Warby Parker, world's most innovative company and B Corporation since May 2011


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