This is not a Moment, it’s the Movement: Joining Forces with B Lab UK
When I was doing my Masters’ in 2004, I wrote my dissertation on the role of corporate philanthropy and the nascent corporate social responsibility movement (CSR) in supporting women and girls. My most distinct memory of this writing process was encountering much confusion in all corners as to why and how business should be anything but a force for profit; forget about a force for good.
Since then, I’ve dedicated most of my career to trying to figure out how to make business better — more responsible, equitable, and sustainable. I’ve done it as a consultant, working in-house on sustainability at places like Standard Chartered and Thomson Reuters, and now as the CEO of I.G. But in my relatively long time in this space, I’ve never experienced anything as exciting, with such momentum and potential for scale as the B Corp Movement. I’m delighted to share the public announcement today that I’ve joined the board of B Lab UK to help spread the gospel of business as a force for good in the UK and beyond.
Responsible business is has undoubtedly hit the mainstream — from the slopes of Davos to the halls of Wall Street, the concept of a “more-than-single” bottom line has moved from the shadows to the centre. It’s clear we are having a moment. But it’s not because what we’re saying is new; but because finally businesses are listening.
My long-term vision for B Lab is shared by many: that it should be so successful that it no longer has to exist. When purpose has been redefined, value broadened to include all stakeholders, and profit rewarded to those who assess and improve their overall impact, every business will be a B Corp.
That utopia, however, is a long way off. Redefining what businesses value is at the root of redefining capitalism, and many still find this scary, unnecessary or dangerous. For every business leader I meet who shares this vision, I meet another two-dozen unwilling to question the cognitive dissonance that can exist between their CSR or philanthropy efforts and their core business. We still have a lot of convincing to do.
For me, this is what makes the role of B Lab so critical. So for now, you’ll find me working alongside the B Lab team, and I.G.’s partners and friends to share the mission, increase the number of B Corps (and making the movement more diverse), and work closely with customers, government, businesses and partners to make the B Corp label an instant marker of value.