What are B Corps? SIX speaks with Charmian Love from B Lab UK

What are BCorps? What first motivated the movement? 

B Corps are for profit businesses which operate for the benefit of both shareholders and stakeholders.  To become a B Corp, a business must go through a rigorous certification process which includes an assessment of their performance based on both how they operate and what impact their business has on the wider world as well as change their governing documents to enshrine their commitment to stakeholders on an equal basis as shareholders.   

The B Corp movement began because of a view that entrepreneurs should be provided with the power to make decisions in their business based on factors beyond the maximisation of profit.  

How is it spreading across the world? 

Today there are over 2100 certified B Corps in 50 countries around the world.  This represents a vibrant community of like-minded companies using business as a force for good – and a movement challenging shareholder capitalism.

What are some of the challenges you face in this work? And opportunities? 

We are excited about both the challenge and the opportunity of scaling the movement with integrity. This includes working in an every growing number of regions which have their own local cultures and customs which must be respected.  It also involves charting pathways to work with multinational corporations. The multinational and public markets advisory council was established last year to explore how the B Corp certification process could be evolved so it is manageable for these more complex businesses, whilst also maintaining the absolute meaningfulness of the standard.

What is your hope for social innovation in the future? How do you see the role of the business in this process

My hope is that we will see more businesses bringing social innovation into their core strategy – that social innovation becomes an imperative for the business rather than a nice to have.  

Social innovation is way for a business to reaffirm or reset a purpose that is about more than just maximising financial return – rather one that is about creating positive social and environmental impacts.  The B Impact Assessment is a great tool to help businesses on this journey.

I also think we will see more and more new economy businesses (tech unicorns and other businesses that are magnets for the top millennial talent) emerge which have deeper purpose already hardwired into their DNA and lived through the culture.

Thank you for taking the time to speak with us.