Barry Jessup discusses why B-Corp is more than a badge for Socius
I first came across B Corp around a decade ago when I was inspired by a presentation from one of the founders of the sustainable luxury fashion designers Elvis & Kresse. Using only recycled materials, including discarded firehoses, the company was set up on day one with a strong social as well as an environmental agenda.
What perhaps impressed me the most was the global network of collaborators that they had pulled together, all of whom shared the same values and were prepared to share their experiences and expertise. We had always prided ourselves on being a triple-bottom-line developer with a focus on social and environmental impact as well as profit, but we felt that we were swimming against the tide.
When we set up Socius, we were determined to make our broader ESG commitments more public, and we felt that securing B Corporation status was a great way to demonstrate it. The breadth of questions and challenges that the certification process raise is in itself a useful thought-provoker in understanding how to structure and run your business. Securing B Corp status was a key commitment that we wanted to make both to our external stakeholders and to our employees.
But this is much more than a badge for us. We have embedded our commitments to stakeholders and the environment, as well as shareholders, in our company Articles, which means that our Directors have a corporate responsibility to consider all of these factors in key business decisions.
We believe that B Corporation status does make a strong external statement, and it does create a competitive advantage in recruitment and retention; but most importantly we think that it is simply the right thing to be doing.