Is your B Corp walking the talk when it comes to inclusion?
14 May 2019 at 5:19 pm
Diversity, equity, and inclusion need to be integrated into every aspect of B Corporations and cannot exist as a side project, according to the co-authors of a newly released guide for B Corps.
Ryan Honeyman and Dr Tiffany Jana, spoke with the leaders of over 200 B Corps from around the world on how to become a B Corp, improving social and environmental performance, and building a more inclusive economy.
B Corps are a relatively new model of business that balance profit and purpose. To be certified by B Lab they must achieve a minimum verified score on the B Impact Assessment, which measures a company’s impact on its workers, customers, community, and environment.
The handbook has been expanded from the first 2014 edition, shifting a greater focus onto the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion in business.
In the introduction of the book, Honeyman said unraveling the assumptions and norms of white supremacy was vital to creating a more inclusive economy that benefited everyone, and that B Corps needed to be at the forefront of doing so.
“Our economy is based upon – and tightly intertwined with – the legacy of white supremacy,” Honeyman said.
“If we aren’t directly learning about, disrupting, and dismantling this framework, how can B Corps be truly successful in creating a more inclusive economy?”
Jana said as racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism, and the legacy of white supremacy continued to “wreak havoc” in communities all over the world, it was time that B Corps dealt with it and ensured they weren’t just treating inclusion as an isolated initiative.
“Addressing bias, racism, sexism, or any diversity challenge is not like surgery to remove an appendix. You don’t just cut it out one day and then it’s over. It’s more like hygiene – you have to keep tending to it if you want to stay healthy,” Jana said.
“The B Corp community needs to continue to lead and inspire. After all, if B Corps can’t get inclusion right, who can?”
They said creating an inclusive economy meant providing a living wage for all workers, a boardroom and management team with the demographics of the organisation’s factory floor, and holding institutions accountable for reinforcing inequitable structures.
The book features “Dr Jana’s Tips” throughout – suggestions, metrics, and solutions for the creation of a more inclusive economy designed for established B Corps and businesses considering joining the movement.
Gaya Subramaniam, community manager at B Lab Australia New Zealand, told Pro Bono News that B Corps were mostly on the ball when it came to inclusion and diversity in their business practice, but the guide would allow the sector to look at what they were doing and improve.
“If anything B Corps are going to be the ones to contribute and share that knowledge of how to be inclusive with the wider business community as to what they can be doing better,” Subramaniam said.
She said the release of the updated edition was a testament to the growth of the B Corp movement since the original book was published back in 2014.
“In Australia, we started initially with 14 [B Corps] and we’re now at a point where we have almost 270 within around four years,” she said.
“So I think this really shows that the business community in Australia really wants change and really wants to lead by example, to come together for a future that is quite equitable and prosperous for all of us.”
Globally, there are over 2,600 B Corps in operation, with some of the more well-known names including Patagonia and Ben and Jerry’s.
The handbook can be purchased via various online book retailers.