The growth of the mission-driven business is a shift that is reflected in many ways by the growth of the B Corp movement, where steady progress for more than a decade has exploded in more recent months and years. As more businesses begin exploring what it means to be a B Corp, we are playing a vital role in both the “why” and the “how” of being a mission-driven business.
When it comes to why, we rarely need to make the case for business to embrace the core principles of mission-driven business. It is cause for celebration that direction of travel has become so widely accepted. However, B Corp plays an important role in contextualising this commitment. We speak about the value of being part of a community of like-minded businesses, where values are shared, and best practice is exchanged. We also place the commitment of each business in the context of a global movement that is modelling a new economy that works for all of us.
When it comes to how, B Corp certification requires two components that are both powerful tools in galvanising an organisation around positive impact. The first of these is our B Impact Assessment (BIA), a comprehensive tool for any business to measure and manage their impact across the organisation (and the means by which we verify a certification, when the score in BIA reaches 80 points). The second is a change to the articles of association, which legally require B Corps to consider the impact of their decisions on all stakeholders – placing people and the environment on an equal footing with shareholders. This public commitment, and its adoption at the heart of the governance of a business, is both meaningful and symbolic.
Ultimately, being a B Corp is a statement of leadership in the shift to become a mission-driven business, and leadership relies on both action and words.
Chris Turner, Executive Director, B Lab UK