Top 5 Things You Should Know About The B Corp Movement in Asia!

Yes it’s coming. And it’s going to change the world.

Pictured: Portuguese, Korean and Singaporean B Corporations catching up in Taiwan City

If anywhere in the world needs rapid transformational change to ensure global stability, it’s Asia.

Firstly: Asia is 60% of the worlds population. Second: Asia has 69% of the worlds poverty. Lastly: Asia emits almost half (44%) of the worlds c02 emissions. These numbers should be enough to jolt anyone into action!!

In Singapore, our company came together at the convergence of 3 problems. In essence, a young guy working at a bank saw that the corporate world wasn’t providing him enough meaning (most people wanted to quit their job). I was working as a creative director, & saw that companies have lost the trust of their audience, and are missing out on a huge opportunity to inspire change. And lastly, a young buisness women working in Vietnam saw that environmental and social challenges were urgent and companies would have to innovate if they (and humanity itself) was going to survive.

Through these three problems, Engagement, Communications & Innovation, my 2 co-founders and I came together to start a new paradigm of buisness. We knew that what we wanted to do didn’t exist yet, and we would have to look beyond to find a new way of doing business. This “new way” of doing business, is best described by a US non-profit and Certification organisation, called the B Corporation:

“It’s no longer just about being the best IN the world, but the best FOR the world”

Sustainability and social impact needs to be integrated into a profitable and core part of business if we are going to make real progress.

Companies need to Discover Purpose.

So when we heard about the B Corporation Certification, we thought it was a very important step to ensure we “walked the talk” and become part of the global community of like-minded buisness professionals. We did our “B Impact Assessment” and became a B Corp.

(You can read more about that here)

The B Corporation has “B Labs” which drive the movement in every part of the world. Asia however, is just at the starting line. Which is why it was so exciting when I found out that there was going to be a first ever B Corp Forum in Asia in Taipei city!!!!!

The invite was for people Interested in developing business & impact in the ASIAN region including Public traded, Startups & Companies that Interested in joining a movement using the methodology & impact model of “doing well by doing Good”.

It also attracted those in Academia and Business schools, even economic trade offices, interested in developing these movement in their region. And of course, it invited Impact investors to explore opportunities they might come across.

Overall, the bilingual event was incredible. With no expectations, I was blown away to see the President of the Country Ma Ying-jeou at the opening, encouraging more business’s in Taiwan and Asia to look deeper into special and environmental issues and start solving real world challenges instead of just chasing profits.

Catching up with my favourite ladies from B Corp Thailand!!! ❤ ❤ ❤

The pre-conference tour for the international guests flying into Taiwan was not a conventional networking session, but an insightful tour of Taipei city and in-depth strategy discussion with the B Lab units from around the world.

Visiting the Taipei Chinese History Museum, we then had a long facilitated lunch session to introduce our varying B Corp models and passions.

But best of all was the uniquely Asian pragmatic approach to move forward, creating mind-maps and timelines of what we hoped to achieve!!!

The conference itself was over 2 days, and covered all aspects of the B Corporation and innovation needed within the corporate world:

  • Governance
  • Environment
  • Community
  • & Employees

It also covered a few issues like:

  • The New Economy Era: Global Development Trend of B Corps.
  • Why Multinational and Listed Company are joining B Corp Movement

and went through case studies of real successful business models for both B2C & B2B B case studies. ((I’ll be sharing all the learnings from all these topics in articles to come!!!))

But best of all was the networking with like-minded people all over the world.

Coffee chats to save the world !!! ❤ #BcorpAsia

So what is the landscape of B Corp in Asia?

It was so great to see so many B Corps from all over Asia gather for the event. Incredible organisations like MYSC from Korea, BetterBarrista and Genashtim from Singapore, BOOND from India… everyone came with an open mind and a big vision for their respective nations!!

You can search for B Corps near you here:

((None in your region? Then get in touch so we can help you start the movement!!))

I was particularly inspired by the Thailand B Corporation movement. The two power woman Gate & Sakulthip were incredibly passionate and more importantly, compassionate about setting up a genuine movement to “decrease the poverty gap” in developing areas through responsible business.

< Check out this video snippet we made at the bar of our hotel, heh! >

The movement was so strong, that some people ask the question of where the tipping point for the B Corporation movement had been hit?

But Marcello from B Lab Europe strongly disagreed. He believe the movement is only just beginning, sharing the examples of many large corporations who are part of the movement in Europe.

Even Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever, had a message to share:

It was upon this reflection that everyone felt the urgency for strong leadership to think ahead of the curve and ensure innovation:

“The tipping point is reached when the old method no longer works. A good leader takes actions before this happens” — #BCorpAsia

(Thankfully leaders like Patagonia are stepping up and showing the way)

This brought up a second good question of whether we could in fact forecast the tipping point using Big Data to see when it might happen& encourage more companies to get involved. Will the movement be fast enough to solve the worlds greatest challenges, like climate change, before it’s too late?

It certainly feels possible.

But Asia will need to seek new business models to the ways things have traditionally been done, looking up to other B Corps, like “Australian Ethical Investments” in Australia.

This model is incredibly inspiring as it seeks financial gain AND genuine solutions.

But what if your company or family business in Asia doesn’t have this mindset in place? Is it too far out of reach for traditional companies?

Not at all.

The biggest learning from #BCorpAsia thanks to Maria from Sistema B, is that it’s not about what you have done and only the actives you have in place. It’s about intentionality.

B Corporation is a wholistic assessment of the foundations on which your company stands on. Essentially, it’s the most accurate way to evaluate whether a company is holding true to it’s mission to add value to the planet.

This is because unlike other certification processes, which are incredibly important tools for assessment and measurement, (specifically when it comes to compliance), the B Corp Certification looks deep into governance of an organisation, ensuring the entire company is aligned on their purpose.

Shareholders have to make the decision to become B Corp certified, and once that decision has been made, there is a tangible and concrete amendment in their legal documents & contract between shareholders and managers. This is essentially extending the duty of of shareholders to uphold the companies mission to stand for something greater than profit-only performance.

A legally binding commitment to have positive impact on society is an incredible step forward for humanity and I’m sure this is one of the core reasons the the B Corp movement has ignited so much traction around the world.

It’s an opportunity for shareholders to become inspirational leaders and refine their purpose of business, to understand the impact they are having on the community and envionrment, and invites them to stand for something larger than themselves.

But why else would shareholders and stakeholders of companies in Asia agree to allow their investments become B Corporations?

As Charmain from B Lab UK shared with us, there is a huge:

  • Business Opportunity
  • Leadership Opportunity
  • And Employee Opportunity

for companies that become B Corp certified. It’s a win-win-win for all.

Essentially, the platform that B Corp has created is an invaluable asset, with a powerful educational component where buisness units can themselves fill out the simple BIA (CEO’s can even try the “quick” version made by the B Team) and see how they rank against their competitors.

Essentially, doing the BIA is the entry point towards becoming a future proof business in what has become a very versatile economy.

Of-course it’s not the “be all and end all” and the movement in only getting started. It’s an ongoing conversation as B Lab’s around the world figure out exactly how we can all collaborate and work together to find the best solutions for the planet.

But the goo news is that Consumers and Governments are already on board. Now we just need great leadership from the corporate world. E.g.

So in Summary,

The Top 5 Things You Should Know About The B Corp Movement in Asia:

Current number of B Corporations around the world!
  1. Business for good can be profitable. Use positive impact to gain a competitive edge. “It’s no longer just about being the best IN the world, but the best FOR the world”
  2. Asia will need to form strong partnerships and platforms across the region to learn best practises and new business models.
  3. You don’t need to have everything in place right now — it’s about changing the company foundations for the future.
  4. Doing the B Impact Assessment is FREE! So what have you got to loose?
  5. …. maybe you don’t won’t need to quit your job at the bank after all!
B Corp亞洲年會終於落幕了!馬英九總統、宏碁電腦創辦人施振榮先生、從世界各地飛來的B型企業、B Lab代表都來了,其中最遠的貴賓搭了超過30小時以上的飛機,就是為了參與這場盛會。
嘉威所長當然也不會缺席啦!帶了10多位會計師及經協理,20位的同仁一起去幫忙,也藉此機會認識了很多相當棒的公司,能跟這麼多有相同理念的企業齊聚一堂,真的很難得!希望能繼續透過商業力量追求向善,讓世界更好!Let’s Be the change!

For more information about B Corp see:

Stay tuned for more articles I will be sharing over the coming weeks from the conference including:

  • The Future of Family Business Leadership in Asia
  • The Asian Philosophy of Doing Well by Doing Good
  • What can Asia learn from Gobal B Labs?
  • Looking at Japan (A Case-study)
  • Impact Business Models that thrive in Asia
  • The Singapore B Corp Story
  • Metrics & Measuring Impact & Dignity

… and more!!

Written by Jacqui, Co-Founder & COO

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