We've all heard the phrase: It's just business. These three small words are used to justify all kinds of bad behaviors. Treating your employees like
We’ve all heard the phrase: It’s just business. These three small words are used to justify all kinds of bad behaviors. Treating your employees like economic units instead of people? It’s just business. Poisoning the environment with waste from your factory? It’s just business. Packaging subprime loans into securities that could be sold as AAA-rated bonds? It’s just business.
When you close your eyes to the larger impact of business practices, you turn a blind eye to large-scale problems, like a global recession, a climate crisis, or a disenfranchised workforce, which happen because of a too-narrow focus on the bottom line.
This is why I am such a fan of B Corporation certification–where your business balances purpose and profit. This certification includes a legal requirement to consider the impact of your decisions on your workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment. In other words, you are required to think bigger, to go beyond that bottom line and define business success in a new way.
My company has been a certified B Corp since 2016, and we just renewed our status, which has to be done every three years. We did it because we wanted to do the right thing, to help our community, to help entrepreneurs, and to always give first.
The renewal process made me think about why we became a B Corp in the first place and reminded me of the benefits we’ve seen because of it–some were expected, and some surprised me.
The certification process offers guidelines for what doing the right thing looks like in practice. The B Impact Assessment showed us what we’re doing well, and what more we could do, in a concrete way that was helpful in guiding our actions. Companies must score over 80 points on this assessment to be certified. We used the B Impact Assessment to help guide us, and we’re doing better than ever at balancing purpose and profit.
Over the last few years, I also started to notice something. When we asked new employees how they heard of our company, many said they found us because we’re a B Corp. Motivated, intelligent, socially conscious job seekers are looking at B Corps because they want to work at a company that shares their values.
Research shows this is a growing trend. While it’s most prominent in millenials, other age groups are also becoming more concerned about corporate social responsibility. They’re willing to pay extra for sustainable products and they prefer to work for a sustainable company. You can reap the benefits of this in the great employees we attract.
More and more companies are becoming B Corps. In 2016, we joined a community of 1,800 other B Corps around the world. Today, there are more than 3,200 B Corps in 150 industries and 71 countries.
If you’re considering this certification, the annual fee changes based on your company size, so even the smallest company can afford to be a B Corp. And it doesn’t cost a thing for your company to complete the free B Impact Assessment to see how you’re doing right now.
The only argument I ever hear against becoming a B Corp is that it distracts from the business, from achieving success. Believe me, I am interested in business success. I am an entrepreneur. I am a CEO. But I know success is more than a number–it’s about making a better world.
In becoming a B Corp, you’ll get a partner and a guide in how to do better as a socially responsible company. And you’ll attract terrific customers and employees who know that business isn’t just business anymore. It never was.
Published on: Feb 27, 2020
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.
This article is from Inc.com