I stumbled upon B Lab about 6 months ago, by accident. It’s a great initiative that is in the forefront of how more companies will have to adapt.
This non-profit organization is – perhaps a bit ironically – set to aid for-profit organizations. Yet it´s all about their mission to use business as a force for good. Founded in 2006 in Pennsylvania, USA, its main activity is to offer a certification to businesses voluntarily wanting to meet certain standards of transparency, responsibility, sustainability and performance, with the aim to give value back to society.
An increasing number of companies start to understand the value in this. Being part of such an initiative brings benefits not only to society at large, but also to brand identity, how attractive the company is to new employees, employee motivation and even the bottom line; the money. Investing in supportive infrastructure and incentives for others to follow their lead is in fact becoming big business. The long term perspective goes hand in hand with the focus on sustainability. The partnership with the United Nations is another example of this, where businesses get to translate sustainable business goals (SDGs) into practical business processes.
B stands for benefits. It seems like many companies do find it beneficial; more than 3900 businesses are now a certified B Corporation, spread across 150 industries and 74 countries.
This way of running a business always makes me think of the term “businessworthy”. I first heard it at the Oslo Business for Peace Award, an annual ceremony celebrating leaders delivering beyond economic growth and shareholder value. This novel word adds a certain responsibility to being in business; it calls for accountability and earning one’s value beyond just the monetary aspect.
Initiatives such as B Lab are redefining the role of business in society. It will take a while to get everyone on board. But those who already are making the transition are in the driver´s seat for future success. They are one step ahead with an open commitment to something that pays off, also for us at large.
You can read more about B Lab here.