Social Respon­si­bil­i­ty Series — B Corps: The B” is for Ben­e­fit”

In brief

Ben­e­fit Cor­po­ra­tions are a rel­a­tive­ly new and excit­ing expres­sion of social respon­si­bil­i­ty mix­ing with com­pet­i­tive edge in busi­ness. In this first of the Social Respon­si­bil­i­ty Series, Euge Pow­er, solic­i­tor at Swaab Attor­neys, shows you how busi­ness can be geared towards social respon­si­bil­i­ty for real, not just for PR.

Ben­e­fit Cor­po­ra­tions (B Corps) have been in Aus­tralia since 2012 and the Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca since 2006. There are at least 2000 B Corps in the USA and around 60 in Australia.

Most big com­pa­nies say that they are doing this or that for the envi­ron­ment or for the peo­ple, but who ever believes them? A cyn­i­cal view would be to sug­gest these claims are mere­ly PR stunts. A big prob­lem with busi­ness is that con­sumers can find it dif­fi­cult to believe any­one in busi­ness is actu­al­ly try­ing to make a real dif­fer­ence to any­thing but their bot­tom line.

Enter the B Corp. The B Corp, in Aus­tralia, is a com­pa­ny which has gone through a cer­ti­fi­ca­tion process with B Lab Aus­tralia & New Zealand Lim­it­ed (a not-for-prof­it) to assess a com­pa­ny’s trans­paren­cy, gov­er­nance, social and envi­ron­men­tal impact. To main­tain the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, a B Corp must con­tin­u­al­ly meet and keep those high standards.

So what does this mean, and why is this excit­ing? B Corp cer­ti­fi­ca­tion gives busi­ness, espe­cial­ly SMEs and start-ups, a way to stick to their eth­i­cal con­vic­tions (when they have them) and real­ly use that to their advantage.

So B Corp cer­ti­fi­ca­tion can be a start-up’s point of dif­fer­ence. But bet­ter than that, B Corp cer­ti­fi­ca­tion can be a way to make a dif­fer­ence. This might give you the advan­tage because, in a mar­ket full of busi­ness­es mak­ing promis­es, your clients can be sat­is­fied your promis­es are the real deal. 

One catch, though: this is not a gim­mick. You have to be keen to make prof­it and a dif­fer­ence. More on that anoth­er time.

Next Steps

If you are keen to find out more about B Corps and oth­er ways you might be able to struc­ture your busi­ness or start-ups to best effect and to align with your per­son­al or eth­i­cal goals, con­tact the Cor­po­rate Team at Swaab Attorneys.