What actions does a company take when its accountability rests in the hands of its shareholders? Does it do everything in its power to protect the environment? Go above and beyond its duty to treat employees with dignity and respect? These question marks are, of course, rhetorical. When given the ‘freedom’ to act to their own corporate interests, insatiable greed has absolute rule.
This is apparent with both the public perception of corporations and the visible impact their greed is having on us all. Is it any surprise that only 17% of respondents have ‘very favorable’ views on large corporations? Probably not when we consider, as NRDC puts it: “100 energy companies have been responsible for 71% of all industrial emissions since human-driven climate change was officially recognized.” The stark contrast between employee and boss has only been exacerbated by the COVID pandemic. The combined wealth of billionaires increased by $1.7 trillion in just one year. When this runs parallel to a time when 86 million Americans lost their jobs due to the virus this makes it “all the more appalling,” according to inequality.org.
20 companies account for a third of all carbon emissions. This has to change
However easy it is to wallow in pity, or have nightmares over a dystopian tomorrow, this isn't another article that’s going to berate CEOs or cry bitterly over the state of the world. Because Doing Good Works is a glass-half-full kind of company, so we’re going to look at how the future of business can create a better tomorrow for everyone.
We believe that the future of business can be one where the workplace can be democratized to work with their employees rather than control them. A world where the environment is placed above shareholder dividends. That’s why we believe in the B Corp as the perfect balance between corporate responsibilities while maintaining an innovative and competitive free marketplace.
How B-Corps Can Change The World
B-Corps began its business revolution in 2006 as a way to counteract the threats we face as a consequence of the unregulated capitalism that we explained above. Jay Coen Gilbert, co-founder of the B Corp movement initiated a new style of business that “would publicly hold them [companies] accountable for the ways they benefited workers, communities, the environment, and customers.” Gilbert understood that the “short-termism” of traditional corporations where stock price triumphed over the business’ and environmental sustainability was deeply flawed.
Gilbert, along with fellow co-founders Andrew Kassoy and Bart Houlahan, determined that the future of business was where social, environmental, and worker protections had to be obligatorily met. Where profit had to be balanced by purpose. Instead of empty platitudes and promises that targets Y and Z will be met by year such-and-such, B-Corps have legally bound rules that require a company to consider the worker, environment, and the community before it proceeds with its business plan.
B-Corps are also far more dynamic than traditional companies. Every two years a B-Corp is rated to see if they still comply with these strict criteria. Fail, and they lose their status. These criteria are constantly evolving to meet the requirements of the day, making B-Corps more adaptable than traditional companies. The amazing thing about these targets is that they help B Corps continue to improve on their positive impact over time.
If we can do this today, Imagine what we can do tomorrow...
Not a charity, just good business
It’s true that B-Corps are run a little differently to ‘normal’ companies but that doesn’t mean profit is neither pursued nor possible. Not only can B-Corps grow and be financially sustainable, but there are also elements of B-Corps that make them better placed to deliver long-term financial returns compared to how traditionally run businesses operate. There are a couple of key reasons why.
First, let's look at the employees of a business. The Worker section of the Impact Assessment survey evaluates the company's relationship with its workforce. By treating employees with the highest possible care, workers can be more motivated at work, stay at the company for longer, and have a genuine enthusiasm for the work they are doing. A Gallup study found that employees work 20% better when motivated, making this a win for everybody!
B-Corps are also committed to a more democratized workforce. Business decisions that involve whole teams rather than designated in the hands of just one or two execs, can help employees feel more valued and can actually help deliver better results for the company. This is thanks in part due to their understanding of the day-to-day logistics of the business. These actions can not only empower employees but help deliver long-term sustainability and profit to a business.
Sustainably sourced products, from an ecologically responsible company, can be a unique selling point for your business
Another way a B Corp can use its unique attributes to increase its revenue streams is how its core ideals are aligned with those of the general public. There is a growing trend towards going sustainable. Whether it’s veganism seeing a 400% boom, or 69% of BBC respondents saying that they were doing everything possible to minimize their carbon footprint (up from 63% just a year earlier). Consumer behavior has allowed eco-friendly and sustainable businesses to not only emerge but thrive. Customers are more likely to purchase from a company that genuinely cares about the environment and the community. B Corporations sums it up best: “People want to work for, buy from, and invest in businesses they believe in.”
A changing market: the current trend shows younger consumers are the ones supporting conscious companies
The proof is in the pudding
We understand that it’s one thing to try and persuade a business to become a b-corp, it’s another thing entirely to run a company that can make a profit while simultaneously having to comply with all the extra social and environmental responsibility that comes with being a B-Corp. I mean, where’s the proof?
There are actually plenty of famous companies that are B-Corps. One of the biggest is Patagonia. Despite having hundreds of stores in five continents, the company is still at the forefront of environmental activism.
Ben & Jerry’s is another household name that is a part of the movement. Not only do they make some of the best ice cream on the planet but they continue to strive in eliminating social injustice across the USA. Not only this, but Ben & Jerry’s gives a portion of its profits to charity. So for this company the proof really is in the pudding!
Right now there are over 4,000 businesses across the world that proudly carry the B-Corp certification. While they’re not all at the same size as Patagonia and Ben & Jerry’s, there’s plenty of proof that businesses large and small can thrive while operating under the B-Corp banner.
Then there’s us
Did you know that Doing Good Works is also a B-Corp? Since our founding in 2015, our company has been doing our best to work with local communities while continuing to grow our business by creating and customizing awesome, sustainable products for companies' marketing needs and more.
We don’t just sign a check and call it a day. We work in collaboration with local communities who know just what’s needed to improve those from disadvantaged backgrounds. Not only do we support those from the foster care system but we also hire them too. Despite this, we continue to prosper as a company and were recently featured on Inc. 5000 list. We’re proud of all our social accomplishments. We don’t have time to list them all here, but take a look and see how by using Doing Good Works as a supplier together we can make a huge difference.
Just imagine if every company had similar sort of objectives. This is why we believe in the B Corp dream.
If you’re a business owner who’s read this article, we hope you've discovered the possibilities of B-Corps. There’s certainly plenty of reasons why becoming a B Corp can fulfill the financial objectives of your company while at the same time accomplishing more for the community, environment, and your employees than what’s realistically possible at a standard corporation. If there’s anything else we can help you with, you can contact us to see how we can help your business.