Amongst the myriad of ecological disarray occurring recently, the destruction of the Amazon rainforest has been the icing on the cake. It is yet another catalyst to demand change, particularly from corporations.
From deadly hurricanes in the Dominican, to the ongoing burning of the Amazon, destructive human activity has serious repercussions. Consequently, the head of the UN’s top biodiversity body has implored countries, companies and consumers to “build a new relationship with nature”.
About B Corporations
B (for benefit) Lab is a global not-for-profit organisation that issues B Lab or B Corp certification to for-profit organisations. B Lab’s purpose is to drive transparency in the business sector, so that audiences are made aware of the brands who do not look after their employees or environment.
B Corporations meet the highest standards of public transparency, legal accountability, as well as verified social and ecological performance. Currently, a mere 2,750 businesses are B Corp certified out of an approaching 200 million. It suggests there’s a whole lot of businesses that are a) operating unlawfully and destructively and b) not doing enough.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, they aren’t given much media coverage, despite their valiant efforts. Still, there are a diverse selection of well-established firms involved already such as Patagonia, Activia, Alessi, Ben & Jerry’s, Toms, Proper Corn, Ella’s Kitchen and Fluid IT, amongst others.
This demonstrates how it is possible for any business to run operations for the sake of the greater good. Start-ups are excluded – companies need to have a minimum of 12 months under their belt to qualify.
B Corporations’ primary goals include
lowering levels of poverty
creating a healthier environment
delivering higher quality jobs with dignity and purpose
Businesses are facing the heat
According to the Global Consumer Confidence survey, “81% of global respondents feel strongly that companies should help the environment.” It’s why B Corporations directly challenged the trillion dollar capitalist firms, to put the planet first over personal profit. Amazon, Apple, and other tech giants were targeted via an ad featured in the New York Times.
Domestically, Labour shadow ministers, including Danielle Rowley, Shadow Minister for Climate Justice and Green Jobs, have written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson. They state that “the government must immediately introduce tough measures to stop UK companies from aiding and abetting the destruction of the Amazon.”
Behemoths must change for their sake and the environment’s
It all boils down to ethicality and transparency. Fortunately, the likes of B Corporations have managed to raise awareness of the wrongdoers. They are shedding light on the actions of unethical organisations which are contributing significantly to global warming’s exponential advancement.
Immediate action is critical with some using the example of H&M’s 2040 sustainability target; it might be admirable, but won’t suffice. Likewise, a more socially aware public have less tolerance for misleading marketing campaigns. Despite the fast-fashion retailer’s declaration they would cease buying leather from Brazil, they failed to mention the 850,000 workers waiting payment as a result.
A step in the right direction
Businesses must accept climate change and eco-friendly implementation as a fundamental factor to address within their current models.
The B Impact Assessment is an excellent starting point. It involves answering questions relating to the company mission, and supplying examples of good internal governance. The assessment also examines the business’ impact on factors such as the community, workers, customers and the environment.
Firms will be given a score, with which they can then benchmark themselves against similar organisations. It may lead to a re-evaluation of operations that require ethical attention, and a subsequent improvement plan.
If a business aces the assessment, meeting or exceeding the requirements, will be eligible for B Corp certification. Firms who are just short can use it as a positive goal to work towards, and so on.
Joining as a B Corporation demands compliance with two further conditions.
They must be able to “consider the interests of all stakeholders, not just shareholders”
Commit to an annual fee that is reflective of their annual sales
If your organisation is considering what actions it can take to improve its environmental and social impact, then the B Corporation website is the best place to start. According to Intrepid Travel it’s a worthwhile process. “While there are over 100 certification schemes in the industry, there aren’t any that take a holistic view of the impact a whole business can have on people and the planet. None, except B Corp certification.”
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About The Author
Forensics graduate-turned copywriter and blogger. I love turning complex topics into easy to understand, yet engaging pieces of content.