B Lab, which to date has enlisted more than 3,500 companies - otherwise known as B Corps - in 70 countries to be a force for social good in the world, recently announced the launch of B Movement Builders. This initiative seeks to bring together multinational brands working to improve the role of business in the world.
Four companies will serve as founding members: vegetable processing company Bonduelle, steel supplier Gerdau, flavor and fragrance company Givaudan and retailer Magalu. Food and beverage company Danone and beauty brand Natura & Co will act as mentors.
The announcement comes at a time when economic stability is being challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic and the future of business-as-usual is less certain than ever.
Furthermore, this year’s Climate Week, which kicks off today, serves as an example of how companies aligned with the B Corps movement can help galvanize action. For example, during last year’s COP25 talks in Madrid, more than 500 B Corps announced they would commit to become net zero by 2030: 20 years ahead of the targets to which companies and governments agreed at the 2015 Paris climate talks.
B Movement Builders is designed to support long-term value creation and a resilient economy for all stakeholders through increased credibility and accountability mechanisms. Founding members will not only have access to the two mentor companies, but will also collaborate with other Certified B Corps.
The coalition acknowledges that business has an important role to play in striking a balance between people, profits, and the planet and are leveraging this opportunity to lead by example and encourage other businesses to do the same. And considering the events that have unfurled over the past six months, the door is wide open for the private sector to leverage more responsibility in helping to solve society’s most pressing challenges.
“During one of the most tumultuous times in world history, we are witnessing big business take unprecedented stances on pervasive and complex issues, such as racial injustice, public health and climate change -- perhaps one of the few silver linings we’ll take away from 2020,” says Susan McPherson, founder and CEO of McPherson Strategies, a communications consultancy that focuses on the intersection of brands and social impact.
According to McPherson, businesses are already witnessing a transformation of what measures a company’s success due to this perfect storm of COVID-19, Black Lives Matter and the ongoing economic volatility.
“Corporate leaders are rapidly realizing that there’s no going 'back to normal' and thriving in a post-pandemic world will require an entire new playbook that redefines the role of business. B Corp’s B Movement Builders not only offers an efficient roadmap to sustainable growth for larger corporations, it also provides third-party validation, access to collaborative networks and the consumer goodwill necessary that can help build a lasting competitive advantage,” adds McPherson.
Bonduelle, Gerdau, Givaudan and Magalu are all large, multinational, publicly traded companies with at least $1 billion USD in annual revenue. Cumulatively, they represent approximately $60 billion in revenues and have 250,000 employees. Mentor companies Danone and Natura & Co are also large multinationals that have already certified at least 30 percent of their global business. The founding members must already either be working towards B Corp certification, have B Corp subsidiary companies, or be aligned with the B Corp movement to use business as a force for good through collaboration with their mentors and other certified B Corps.
B Movement Builders marks an important evolution for the B Corp certification movement, which has primarily certified small-to-midsize businesses with fewer than 250 employees until now. It is the first initiative of its kind to pave the way for larger businesses to get involved with B Corps and to leverage their unique skill sets to address the impacts of climate change, racism, and other forms of oppression through the global economy.
Like the B Corp certification process, participation in the B Movement Builders program is voluntary. This opt-in approach allows businesses to demonstrate their proactive approach to sustainability, accountability and transparency. Beyond the desired positive internal impacts such as supply chain resilience, employee satisfaction, or movement towards a stakeholder capitalism, B Movement Builders also have the ability to influence trends across the industry, encouraging other business leaders and organizations to join the sustainable business movement.
In the public announcement, B Lab said, “The decisions that all companies make create ripple effects for stakeholders that continue throughout the global economy.” Joining B Movement Builders provides companies an opportunity to publicly acknowledge their powerful impact and commit to working in collaboration with like-minded businesses to affect positive change for their customers, employees, and communities.
Image credit: Valentin Antonucci/Pexels
Amelia Ahl is an MBA/MPA candidate at Presidio Graduate School, pursuing a degree in sustainable solutions. She has a background in humanitarian and international development, which fueled her interest in regenerative business models. Amelia's experience ranges from social business and impact investing to policy and the nonprofit sector. Her research and work is guided by social justice and antiracism. Amelia is a consultant for sustainable businesses and the co-founder of an accountability group for female and non-binary entrepreneurs.
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