[Editor’s note - Part one of this important article can be found here.]
Who you choose to do business with is important. It is also part of the ethos of B Corps: to certify, they are required to consider the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment. It is about being conscious and making choices that continue your social mission. Making sustainable decisions is an extension of the good most organizations in the social sector are striving for already. It says something about how you are spending the valuable resources that donors give you to achieve your mission. B Corps also have social or environmental missions and they share a base-set of values that is clearly established and shared with organizations in the nonprofit sector.
Although there is currently only a relatively small cohort of businesses in Canada that have chosen to embark on the process of certification established by B Lab, the nonprofit behind B Corps, it is worth looking at the list and considering them before continuing with business as usual. The time to make conscious change is now.
The nonprofit sector should not only care about who their suppliers and service providers are, but also how they treat their employees, where they source their goods and how it impacts the environment. It is about taking a look through a wider lens. It is not enough to look outward, towards the people they are trying to help and be satisfied with the impact; the nonprofit sector needs to look inward at its own internal operations and structure and ask hard questions about how the choices they are making have a ripple effect.
Because the bar is continuously being raised for B Corps during the recertification process that happens every three years, it forces companies that have already committed to using their business as a force for good to up the ante and look for new and innovative ways to push the dial even further.
The charitable sector can also take steps towards achieving even greater social impact. For example, by taking a closer look at who their private sector suppliers and partners are, they can begin to apply their impact philosophy beyond their own mission and look for others who are also working on changing the system.
Becoming a B Corp was the best strategic planning our company ever did because it put into concrete practice things that I was already doing by instinct. I wanted to be challenged, I wanted to be inspired to do things differently and to create lasting social value.
I believe in the 3.5% rule - it only takes a small minority of people to change the world. Whether it is a non-violent protest or community action to solve a local problem - it is the choices that we make and the dedication to those choices that brings about lasting change.
March is B Corp Awareness Month and now you know there are no more excuses to continue with the status quo. If we collectively use the tools at our disposal to make choices through a united set of values, the system will change as a result. Set your goals today as an organization; together we can move the dial. You can use the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals as a starting point - the online Action Manager can help your organization stay motivated and on task. It is a good place to get started. Something’s gotta change!
As an award-winning social entrepreneur, international speaker and author of multiple articles on leadership in the social sector, Kim Fuller is delivering innovative strategies that effectively and efficiently meet the needs of today's evolving not-for-profit landscape. Kim is the founder and CEO of Phil, where she strives to find holistic solutions for the social sector's organizational needs.