B Corp Month celebrates burgeoning for-purpose business movement
2 July 2019 at 4:21 pm
Australian purpose-driven companies are celebrating B Corp Month by sharing their stories of how businesses can make the world a better place, amid a seven-fold growth in certified B Corps over the past five years.
B Lab Australia and New Zealand on Monday launched B Corp Month, with the theme of “better business for a better world”.
B Corps – a relatively new model of business balancing profit and purpose – are certified by B Lab once they achieve a minimum verified score on the B Impact Assessment.
This assessment measures a company’s impact on its workers, customers, community and environment.
In the past five years, certified B Corporations in Australia and New Zealand have grown seven fold – from 33 in 2014 to 269 in 2019.
Andrew Davies, the executive director of B Lab Australia and New Zealand, told Pro Bono News that B Corp Month was about building awareness of the movement and the positive impact purpose-driven businesses had on the community.
“It is the B Corps themselves that are raising awareness through storytelling at their own events, whether it’s an open house or whether it’s just a social gathering to get people interested in what they’re doing,” Davies said.
More than 3,500 businesses across Australia and New Zealand have started the process of achieving B Corp certification, representing 60 different industries.
But Davies said B Corp Month wasn’t just about growing the number of businesses seeking certification.
“The certification process is really – sorry for the cliché – about the journey not the destination,” he said.
“It begins when a business simply asks itself the question: how do we impact our community?
“You’re not going to jump in and say ‘hey I’m going to certify as a B Corp next week’. You first have to educate yourself and then get people in the business questioning the organisation’s impact.”
According to B Lab, certified B Corps have much higher rates of employee ownership, health and wellness initiatives, gender pay equity and paid primary caregiver leave compared to other businesses.
Davies said there was a collision of significant global trends around impact that were driving businesses to consider B Corp certification.
This includes global interest in the business community around the UN Sustainable Development Goals and minimising the sector’s environmental footprint.
“And recently in Australia we’ve had things like the royal commission into the financial services sector which has really been all about businesses acting ethically,” he said.
“So we see this as a really exciting time because the intersection of lots of different conversations is all around the essential question of what is the purpose and impact of your business.”
A full list of events held during B Corp Month can be seen here.
Pro Bono Australia became one of the first B Corps in Australia in 2013.