Being Part of a Global Community of Leaders
The incredible value of the community itself came as a surprise for many B Corps.
Many said that they were originally interested in becoming a Certified B Corporation in order to take advantage of the marketing benefits, to receive discounts on products and services, or to benchmark their social and environmental performance.
But, almost universally, it has been the strength of the global community—and the sense of being part of something bigger than an individual business—that has become the most deeply fulfilling aspect of B Corp certification.
The positivity, collaboration, diversity of experience, innovation, and joy of being part of a global community that shares your core values and a clear sense of purpose is what inspires, motivates, and energizes B Corps to use their businesses as a force for good.
The B Corp community benefits from a high level of trust, a focus on equity and belonging, and an entrepreneurial spark that is very powerful.
In many ways, the value of the B Corp community itself makes sense. The rigor of the B Corp certification process means that it takes serious dedication to complete, which helps to filter out businesses that are not truly committed to meeting high standards of performance, accountability, and transparency.
The result is a passionate, highly innovative group of some of the most socially and environmentally conscious businesses on the planet.
While the B Corp movement started in the United States, it was never intended to remain an American phenomenon. Indeed, since the first edition of this book was published in 2014, there are now more B Corps based outside of the United States than inside. This is because using business as a force for good has global appeal.
For example, whether you are a sole proprietor, a national brand, or global business with billions in sales, and whether your focus is on strengthening local communities, reducing global poverty, or addressing climate change, being part of a larger movement can help build collective voice, accelerate the adoption of standards, drive capital, help secure supportive public policies, and inspire consumers to change their behavior.
To give you a sense of the power of this international movement, we asked each of B Lab’s global partners to give us a few highlights of some of their region’s accomplishments.
Note that the following is only a small sampling of highlights—visit the B Corporation website for more information on each region. Here are some of the big wins and key milestones from each global partner.
Sistema B (Latin America), established in 2012
After initially starting in four countries—Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Colombia—the B Corp movement has spread to fifteen countries in Latin America.
Grupo Bancolombia, the largest bank in Colombia, launched the first Measure What Matters program in the region. The program’s initial focus was to use the B Impact Assessment to measure and manage the social and environmental impacts of 150 of its key suppliers. Fifteen other large companies in Latin America are following suit.
Natura Cosméticos, a publicly traded B Corp based in Brazil, acquired The Body Shop and Aesop, spreading the B Corp movement to seventy countries.
Santiago, Chile; Mendoza, Argentina; and Río de Janeiro, Brazil, launched Cities + B initiatives that bring together businesses, universities, foundations, public institutions, entrepreneurs, and citizens to develop solutions to their region’s most difficult social and environmental challenges. A key component of these ongoing initiatives is to encourage businesses in each city to measure, manage, and improve their impact with the B Impact Assessment.
More than 2,500 people take part in the Multiplicadores B (or B Multipliers) program to help spread the B Corp movement in Latin America.
Colombia became the third country (behind the United States and Italy) to pass benefit corporation legislation. Five other Latin American countries are currently debating benefit corporation legislation in parliament.
B Lab Australia and New Zealand, established 2014
Australia has four Australian Stock Exchange–listed companies that are Certified B Corps: Australian Ethical Investments, Murray River Organics, Silver Chef, and Vivid Technology.
In 2017, the first local B Corp Champions Retreat drew two hundred B Corp Leaders from across Australia and New Zealand.
B Lab Australia and New Zealand have begun pioneering an ecosystem partnership model with various organizations (such as banks, utility companies, and universities) who want to join the movement and accelerate the growth of the B Economy.
Benefit corporation legislation has attracted widespread support from across the business and legal communities and is currently being considered by the federal government.
We became a B Corp because we wanted to be in a community of like-minded, like-hearted people and to be part of a leading movement for positive change. As a certain African proverb goes, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
Zara Choy, Digital Storytellers—Australia