How B Corp is shifting business from profit to people

October 19, 2020 ProgressionHR

What do eco-shoe brand All Birds, outdoor apparel company Patagonia and ice cream giant Ben & Jerry’s all have in common? B Corporation. B ‘what’ you might ask!

If you haven’t heard of B Corporation (or B Corp), there’s a good chance you’ll hear about them soon.

B Corp is a growing global movement of companies who are moving beyond financial motivations, using their business to make our world a better place for everyone. Making a profit is important but using that profit to make a positive impact on employees, communities and the environment is the real purpose.

Take well-known American eyewear company Warby Parker, who give away one pair of glasses to people in poorer communities, for every pair they sell. Or Better World Books, who recycle used books and use the profit to fund local libraries and global literacy.

At last count over 3,500 companies in 74 countries have become B Corp certified. Proof this shift towards building more responsible business is gaining global momentum.

Thinking about stakeholders and shareholders.

Historically, the capitalist economies have fostered an environment where business maximises shareholder value. Economic growth is the priority, as is building wealth. Which means shareholder returns have been promoted over stakeholder benefits. But things are changing.

More companies are highlighting stakeholder values, too, including those that address both social and environmental issues. B Corps are a product of this shift in values.

B Corps are businesses that meet the highest social, economic, and environmental standards and public transparency. They go beyond producing quality jobs and products and ensure good practices across the entire company and their supply chain.


Why be B Corp Certified?

To become B Corp Certified, companies are officially verified by B Lab, a non-profit organisation that evaluates how a company is contributing to an element of social good that goes beyond financial interest.

So why do companies make the effort to go through this process? With over 6500 companies signed up, the reasons do vary, however, there are three common themes:

Certification helps build consumer trust.

Rather than relying on tactics like greenwashing – i.e. jumping on the eco-bandwagon for the sake of appearances – B Corps have to commit to policies that actually make an impact (and don’t just market as such). This can help build consumer trust.

Employees are beginning to demand it.

Research shows that more and more employees – particularly millennials – want to work for a mission-driven company. Plus, there’s evidence that a company is more successful when its employees buy into its mission.

B Corps want to be part of a global community.

If you’re committed to making a positive change, you’ll naturally gravitate towards companies that share this common purpose. Being part of the B Corp community also opens opportunities to influence society for the good.

For example, North American Certified B Corporations formed the B Corp Climate Action Collective, a group of committed B Corps invested in fighting climate change. This showed the collective power of these businesses to transform commerce, and to create an inclusive society and environmental regeneration.

“We commit to taking bold steps toward climate resiliency by using advocacy, cross-sector collaboration, corporate action, and the capital markets to stop emissions and drawdown carbon, improving global well-being,” the group wrote in a statement.



Who are New Zealand’s B Corp Companies?

As we write, New Zealand has 33 B Corp Certified companies – some of the more well-known companies are listed below. To see the full list, click on the link – you’ll be surprised at the spread of companies all across New Zealand!

  • LilyBee Wrap
  • Fix & Fogg
  • Synlait
  • Kathmandu
  • BioBalance New Zealand
  • Sharesies
  • Duffle & Co
  • Little Yellow Bird
  • Method Recycling
  • Blacksmith



Watch the B Corp Anthem

To find out more about B Corp, click below to watch B Corp’s 2-minute Anthem on You Tube (it’s had almost 400,000 views to date).


We connect HR people with companies that care.

We understand that more and more people are seeking a workplace that prioritises the wellbeing of the wider community. Likewise, we know many companies are searching for candidates that share these values too.

If you’d like to make that connection we are here to help – simply get in touch with Laura or Kelly on 09 365 2121.


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