B Lab Partners with Pro Bono Australia
10 February 2016 at 11:22 am
B Lab, the Not for Profit that oversees B Corp certification, has partnered with Pro Bono Australia to strengthen the network of B Corps and foster relationships with other socially-conscious businesses.
Through the partnership, Australian and New Zealand B Corps have the opportunity to take up free membership to Pro Bono Australia’s Corporate Community which allows them to profile their interests, activities and skills.
Corporate Community is the first high-profile platform committed to delivering corporate social responsibility news and information to a broad national audience.
The initiative was created by Pro Bono Australia founder Karen Mahlab to support corporations at the helm of the global movement that is shifting business towards sustainable and responsible practices, and to provide a platform where they could voice their activities.
Pro Bono Australia became a B Corp in 2014, and Head of Business Matt Betts said that it was important for other organisations that share a philosophy of good business to strengthen ties.
“Pro Bono Australia is thrilled to be partnering with B Lab in Australia in offering free Corporate Community membership to all Australian and New Zealand B Corps,” Betts said.
“We understand what it means to be part of a community that is striving to create a better way to do business and drive positive change in the way our world works.
“As Australia’s leading online hub for news, jobs, webinars, skilled volunteering and other resources for the social economy we are ideally placed to offer significant value to B Corps via our platform and allow B Corps to show other corporations how to use business as a force for good.”
He said that the organisation has a strong reputation for facilitating open and collaborative relationships by working with businesses, governments and other social organisations.
“As we straddle the business and social economy ourselves, we believe that cross sectoral, non-silo thinking is essential – as difficult as that may be at times,” he said.
“Collaboration is at the heart of everything we do. To this end, we advise other sectors and industries and encourage them to become engaged in the social economy.”
Executive Director of B Lab Australia and New Zealand Alicia Darvall said that Corporate Community membership was a “great opportunity for the B Corps to profile their services to other business partners”.
“I hope that what will happen is, by understanding the B Corp community, other people on the platform will be able to find goods and services that they are interested in working with, knowing that these businesses are independently verified to be walking the talk and not greenwashing,” Darvall said.
“It’s a really compelling opportunity for businesses to find each other and also, I think it’s exciting that B Corps and social enterprises and Not for Profits will all have the opportunity to understand better each other’s approaches and potentially collaborate on projects and issues that need a number of different brains around the table.”
She also said the partnership would open avenues for collaboration with like-minded businesses, as well as government and the Not for Profit sector.
“That sense of finding your tribe and to be able to profile the businesses means they can also find each other and work together,” she said.
“While it’s important that Not for Profits and government have a key role in looking after society, I think that the role is bigger than them alone and we need business to step up.
“To be able to have the Pro Bono Australia forum as a way for B Corps to be able to profile their interests and activities and skills it will better enable both the Not for Profit sector and government and the other businesses to understand how they can all work together.”
B Corps will join other Corporate Community members, including leading Australian businesses recognised for their CSR initiatives such as Toyota Community Foundation, Telstra Foundation, NAB, REA Group and CPA Australia.
As the focus on businesses tackling social and environmental problems grows, Darvall said that the momentum around the B Corp movement is also increasing.
“We’re currently at 97 B Corps in Australia and New Zealand, and we launched in April 2014 with 47, so it’s a steady build,” she said.
“We’re really excited because what we’re finding is the range of B Corps and styles of businesses are really varied… and we’ve had considerably more bigger businesses also join the community in recent times.”
B Lab’s current focus is on creating a new legal structure for B Corps in Australia, to reflect similar models in the US where the movement started.
B Corps that are interested in joining Corporate Community can get in touch via email.