Things we care about.
Business as a force for good.
Why we bothered with B Corp, and why you should too.
B Lab was founded in 2006 in the small town of Berwyn, Pennsylvania - about 20 miles east of central Philly. It was started by three friends who shared a deceptively simple (but hugely important) idea. Business can be a ‘force for good’. Since 2006, B Corp has grown from three mates in a garage to the gold standard for the direction of business in the modern world, still holding onto that simple idea.
At Fox + Hare. It’s an idea we share.
Looking around, we can see our current economic system is a bit stricken. It rewards negative impacts on people, communities, and planet; and has meant that in recent decades we’ve seen businesses morph into entities that take more than they give, deny their responsibility to society, and exploit resources, people, and systems to their heart's content. Many of the very systems we need to survive as a species. This rampant capitalism certainly isn’t working, but it’s the ‘least worst’ system we’ve got. As they say; ‘Communism works on paper, but not in the real world. Capitalism doesn’t even work on paper.’
So how does a third party accreditation, and a nice logo address these pretty gargantuan problems? Good question.
We at Fox + Hare became a B Corp in late 2021 (just over a year after our founding), 14 years after the first 82 Certified B Corps were certified in 2007. We did it because we shared their central idea - ‘business can (and should) be a force for good’. We believed in the value of business to bring prosperity, jobs, progress, and meaning to people and communities. After all, business has created the modern world as it currently is, good and bad; it’s given us vaccines, mortgages, food and water supply, Big Macs; as well as melting ice caps, rampant wildfires, workplace anxiety, and Microsoft Teams. If business is a force, force can be directed. The trajectory we’re currently on is going to land us somewhere we don’t want to end up. It needs a recalibration.
Enter B Corp, or more specifically B Lab.
To become a certified B corporation, you’ll need to score an 80 out of a possible 200 points in an online survey of roughly 200 questions as well as passing a phone interview with B Lab. You’ll also need to provide the necessary documentation to validate your claims, and amend any corporate bylaws to include this commitment to positive social and environmental change. You’ll then be part of a network of like-minded, for-profit organisations that see the business sense in making money, but also the business value in its capacity for positive social change.
Those are the details. But the important change is in how you do business.
Becoming a B Corp recalibrates every single decision being made within your business. It’s a factor of consideration in everything from restocking the office kitchen, to setting commercial objectives for the next decade. It’s easy to write off B Corp as a virtue signalling badge, and for some it is, but for those who are a true part of the movement - it’s a new way of doing business. That shouldn’t be understated.
Rather than being driven solely by profits, every B Corp must have a vision that’s grounded in moral and social good. It must be driven by reciprocity between people and planet - it’s not just reusable water bottles and printing less. It’s taking responsibility. Not just taking.
This all sounds a bit worthy, so why would the average business take something like B Corp on? Well since joining the gang we’ve noticed 5 good reasons to; that might resonate with you:
- Win over the future customer.
According to the EY Sustainable Investing Survey (2020) - in the next couple of decades, over $30 trillion dollars is going to be inherited by millennials alone, from their more economically fortunate parents. For reference, that’s going to be the largest transfer of wealth in recorded history, and equates to more than twice the GDP of China.
That money is going to pass down to a consumer group with a concerted alignment with the values of B Corp. Sustainable practices, contributing to society, trying to make a better future. Vitally, younger consumers are also expressing a sharp understanding that their choices will shape the future world we live in - that’s a big step forward. Power to the people.
- Increase market share, market penetration, and price point.
Not the primary reason to become a B Corp, but certainly a pleasant by-product is that such a title can heighten the attractiveness of your business and increase preference for what you do, or what you make.
A 2021 Deloitte survey indicated that a third of consumers actively look for brands with strong sustainable (34%) and ethical (30%) credentials. Our own F+H research showed that; 72% of people agree that brands should have a positive impact on top of just selling products and services, 70% agree that brands should be held to account for the damage they do, and 73% agree that businesses should have a purpose beyond just making money. That, as Aladdin would say, is ‘a whole new world’.
- Attract investment (with shared values).
Capital is the fuel that powers economies, but in part it’s also the steering wheel. Where it flows, we go. It’s not even a moral thing. As a rule of thumb - companies with good sustainability performance tend to have better corporate governance, and hence are a better long term investment option.
Investors know this - and use it in their decision making progress. Progressive, purpose-driven companies witness higher market share gains and grow three times faster on average than their competitors, all while achieving higher workforce and customer satisfaction. It’s not a fluke, a rising tide lifts all boats.
- Collaborate with fellow B Corps.
Nothing worth doing was ever done alone. The B Corp movement is snowballing, and through it you can lean on others as you strive to be more sustainable, sharing advice, expertise and resources that can benefit your business and theirs. And don’t worry, they don’t just let anyone in; since its launch in 2006, more than 150,000 businesses have signed up for the B Corp Impact Assessment, yet only 4,500 have been certified - if they’re in, you know they’re good. Sort of like the Berghain of social movements.
- Keep your people happy, hire more of them.
98% of employees surveyed at B Corp businesses said they are highly satisfied with where they work, according to B Impact Assessment results.
Employees who feel a strong sense of belonging at work are over six times as likely to bring their best selves to work and to do their best work, according to research by Glint. Add onto that; Millennials, who’ll make up 75% of the workforce by 2025, are increasingly looking for socially responsible employers - it’s becoming a non-negotiable. Who knows, maybe it’s time to start thinking about that 4 day week people are prodding you on? The evidence is irrefutable.
Still not convinced? Get in touch, and we’ll run you through how we did it, why it was worth it, and what we learned along the way.
Already a B Corp? Outstanding. Glad to be in the gang with you - get in touch to find out how we can help steer your business towards being (even more) of a ‘force for good’ in 2023.