The B Corp
November 1, 2017
I have written about Millennials and their desire to work for socially conscious companies on a few occasions. There is a name for these companies – B Corporations, but what are they exactly? A B Corporation is also known as a benefit corporation, and it is one that has strived and succeeded in three key areas:
- Social and environmental performance
- Public transparency
- Legal accountability
And according to Bcorporation.net, they “aspire to use the power of markets to solve social and environmental problems.” Rose Marcario, the CEO of Patagonia said, “The B Corp movement is one of the most important in our lifetime, built on the simple fact that business impacts and serves more than just shareholders – it has an equal responsibility to the community and to the planet.”
There are other benefits to being certified as a B Corporation besides being socially and environmentally aware. Benefitcorp.net lists the following as the advantages for every stakeholder, this includes the consumer to the board of directors:
- Reduced Director Liability
- Expanded Stockholder Rights
- A Reputation for Leadership
- An Advantage in Attracting Talent
- Increased Access to Private Investment Capital
- Increased Attractiveness to Retail Investors and Mission Protection as a Publicly Traded Company
- Demonstration Effect (setting the standards for those companies that choose to follow)
There is a great deal of value in managing, working, and supporting mission-based companies that strive to make a difference in the world. At the end of the day, it becomes more than punching the clock or getting through this task or that report or a dry meeting, it becomes a daily exercise in giving back in, participating in changing the world around you, in contributing to the greater good.
Until recently, any one who wanted a mission-based company, usually had to look in the nonprofit sector, which while rewarding, and providing earlier opportunities for growth, it also meant financial sacrifice. Today, this is not the case. More and more well-known companies are choosing this path. A small sample of this growing list includes: Kickstarter (Brooklyn), Plum Organics (CA), King Arthur Flour (VT), Breckinridge Capital Advisors (Boston), Lift (San Francisco), and Postcard.com (NYC).
If you are considering a start-up company, think about starting down that path as a B Corp. Whether a start-up or an established company, there is a clear path to earning this distinction, and the requirements can be found here. Keep in mind, you may not be able to achieve all of the requirements, but you take can benefit your community. For example, Drexel likely would not meet all of the requirements (we are also a 501c3 nonprofit organization), but President Fry’s goal is to make this university “the most civically engaged in the United States.” This goal benefits so many people beyond our faculty, staff, and student populations.
If you are looking to work at a B Corp, do your research. You can find a comprehensive list of B Corps here. There is so much to support whether that is as a manager, an employee, or a consumer.
Anne Converse Willkomm
Director of Graduate Studies
Image Source: https://www.bcorporation.net/b-the-change