Mark Hillsdon reports on how interest in a new way of doing business is snowballing as big companies like Danone and Unilever enter the movement through their brands
For the last few years, capitalism has been in the dock. From corporate greed to environmental indifference, tax avoidance to low wages, trust in the system has been crumbling.
Yet with CEOs bound by the principles of fiduciary duty, and a “shareholder-first” mentality that prevents even the most enlightened business leader from voluntarily doing anything that could affect the bottom line, such as reducing pollution or increasing staff wages, there has seemed little chance of change.
Today’s most exciting businesses are operating for the benefit of all who contribute to its success
But an alternative is beginning to gain traction, a new commitment-based capitalism embodied by the B Corp – or benefit corporation – a movement where companies balance what they do with the impact they make, with profits no longer their only goal.
“It’s hard to deny that meaningful change is under way,” enthuses Katie Hill, executive director of B Lab UK, the charity that is rolling out B Corp in the UK. “Today’s most exciting businesses are operating for the benefit of all who contribute to its success – for shareholders and for stakeholders – and as such they are taking responsibility for their broader impact on employees, on communities...