B Corp Month has shown us the power of collaboration when acting as a force for good

We all know the world is facing critical social and environmental challenges. And we know that something needs to change. But what? Our current approach to business is a good place to start.

For decades, business as usual, where competition for profit and the needs of the shareholder have been prioritised above all else, has led to a worsening of prospects for other important stakeholders — people and the planet.

We’re constantly reminded of examples of this. Whether it’s oil and gas giants stripping back their climate commitments or corporations not paying their employees a fair wage, it’s clear there needs to be a shift in mindset at the top.

Some leaders take a siloed approach, seeking to go it alone as they strive to navigate economic changes, a rapidly warming climate and widening social inequality. But these issues cannot be solved by any one company alone.

That’s not to say there isn’t a time and place for a bit of healthy competition. But when it comes to people and the planet, the scale of the problems we face will require a united and concerted effort from businesses across the corporate landscape. We need companies of every shape, size and sector to step up and become a part of the solution. The good news is that a growing community of more than 1,900 UK businesses are already proving a better future is possible.

Certified B Corporations, or B Corps, are reinventing how business is done by meeting the needs of people, the planet and profit. They do this by measuring and improving their impact on stakeholders beyond just shareholders — their employees, customers, local communities and the environment — while making a legal change to ensure this expanded duty of care is embedded in decision-making.

B Corps are part of a flourishing community of people who understand the power of sharing knowledge, ideas, successes and failures on the journey to better business. Whether it’s innocent publishing its learnings from setting up its all-electric, renewable factory in Rotterdam or Faith in Nature telling other businesses about how it put nature on its board, B Corps are constantly pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in their relevant sectors while bringing others along with them. And no time has this sense of community and collaboration been stronger than March.

This Way Forward

Every year during March, the global B Corp community comes together for B Corp Month to celebrate what it means to be a B Corp. And this year, through the campaign theme This Way Forward, we’ve been championing the progress of the B Corp movement.

It’s been brilliant to see the UK B Corp community, now one of the largest and fastest-growing in the world, bring B Corp Month to life in a number of ways. Campaign activations have ranged from deep conversation to practical impact, all telling compelling stories about how B Corps are pursuing a more impactful path. For example, law firm Bates Wells hosted a panel with fellow B Corp Elvis & Kresse alongside other industry organisations. Speakers concluded that stronger cooperation is needed if better practices are to be implemented across the fashion industry.

B Corps in the South West protected local woodland by coming together to plant 420 trees in the Great Avon Wood while making a commitment to plant 4,500 by the end of B Corp Month.

And B Corp CEOs joined us for a breakfast event where Sarah Walker-Smith, CEO of Shakespeare Martineau, left us with an inspiring message: “Now is a critical time, and if not now then when? And if not us then who?”

B Corp Month has reminded us that collaboration is not only what makes the B Corp community unique, but also that it is essential to progress and the rate at which it is required.

Imagine the world we could create if we worked together rather than against each other. Imagine an economy where competitors were seen as collaborators.

So, as B Corp Month comes to a close and we look ahead on our mission to create a more inclusive, equitable and regenerative economy, let’s make a commitment to talk more, learn more and challenge one another to go further, faster.

Chris Turner, executive director of B Lab UK and campaign director at the Better Business Act

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