Author Christopher Marquis provides us with a deep dive into B-Corps with several examples and interviews of thriving B-Corps in Better Business: How The B-Corp Movement Is Remaking Capitalism

By Danielle Doza

More than ever, consumers are voting with their dollars, large retailers are pushing suppliers to be more sustainable, and investors are valuing companies based on their Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) practices. Many of us have read about how Millenials, as the largest consumer group, seek out companies with positive social impact for both employment and products and services. A senior VP at the company Nielsen states, “Brands that establish a reputation for social responsibility and environmental stewardship among today’s youngest consumers have an opportunity to not only grow market share but build loyalty among the power-spending Millennials of tomorrow, too.” 

In Better Business: How the B Corp Movement Is Remaking Capitalism, author Christopher Marquis lays out the many values of being a B Corp. From stronger employee retention and attraction to higher value for all stakeholders and a growing recognition of branding, the B Corp certification is proving to be one of the best models to build and grow a resilient company. Book cover of Better Business

The B-Corp model offers companies the structure and guidance to be a transformative leader and make a real impact in their industries and the corporate community. For those unfamiliar with this concept, a B-Corp is a B-Labs certified company that makes positive social and environmental impacts. Values and purpose are part of the DNA (and often articles) of the company. The movement was developed and is managed by the nonprofit organization B Labs, which aims to transform the global economy to benefit all people, communities, and the planet. As Marquis states, “B Corps undergo a rigorous certification process, overseen by the non-profit B Lab, and commit to putting social benefits, the rights of workers, community impact, and environmental stewardship on equal footing with financial shareholders.”

B-Corps offers a different approach to business. A company CAN be “successful if it provides a return on [ ] capital without depleting other capitals on which we [as people] depend, be they human, natural, or social [capital].” 

In the book, you will read about examples of success from companies like Danone, Seventh Generation, Ben & Jerry’s, and Natura (and, as a baker, one of my favorite brands, King Arthur Baking Co.). Marquis interviews dozens of B-Corp leaders and shares the various journeys of companies and why each pursued certification. He presents evidence of the value of the B-Corp community and the growth in brand recognition. The founding and development of B Lab is also detailed, providing an inspiring understanding of benefit corporations. 

We recommend Better Business if you want to learn more about how companies are making positive impacts for all stakeholders. At the least, you will gain an understanding of the Benefit Impact Assessment, how it guides you in measuring your company’s social and environmental impacts, and consider whether it may be a useful tool for your company. 

B-Corp status or not, every business can realize success from being a force for good. Elevate your impact by reading about the successes (and some failures) of the benefit movement.

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