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