There are over 1,000 certified B Corps in more than 33 countries. Ben & Jerry’s, Patagonia, and Natura are some of the big names. Many of us, however, are SMEs/SGEs trying to make a difference and in some cases aspiring to scale in the way those ‘big 3’ already have.
So a natural question is, what’s in it for us? Emzingo is a leadership development company with social impact built into its programs and services and integrated into the organizational culture. Emzingo and the B Corp movement have a clear alignment in terms of values, which is what drew us towards getting a certification in the first place. In addition to the philosophical alignment on how businesses should operate, there were three main drivers for Emzingo’s decision to join the B Corp community.
- Accountability to our team and stakeholders: By completing the B Corp application process, we were forced to take a hard look at the way we’re running our business, metrics we are tracking, policies we have in place, and the way we hold ourselves accountable. This exercise alone was incredibly beneficial. The certification has now created a natural, annual mechanism to ensure we’re constantly improving our business practices. For anyone reading this who has ever started a company, run a small business, or is scaling her/his enterprise, you know the discipline it takes to step back when the daily to-do list is already a mile long and constantly growing.
- Being part of the movement equals credibility: From Emzingo’s perspective, B Corp is the Fair Trade certificate for service providers. Our social enterprise creates experiences and transforms individuals while having a positive impact on communities. The challenge is that Emzingo is not [yet] a household name like the big guys mentioned at the beginning of this post. Association with B Corp adds an element of credibility when approaching new partners and clients. It also gives us access and a common bond with other certified organizations with which we may want to partner, sell our services to, or support in another way. Consortiums and memberships exist for these purposes. However, Emzingo is confident that the B Corp movement is more valuable to everyone involved because it is built by and around purpose-driven organizations.
- Building the ecosystem: Simply put, we love what we do and think there should be more people thinking the way that Emzingo and many of the other B Corps do when it comes to driving responsible leadership, creating social change, and protecting natural resources and our environment. The question for us was how do we make this happen beyond what our organization can do on its own? We view the B Corp community as part of the answer. This community provides us with the opportunity to support peers and colleagues, build a network across sectors and geographies, and create and live out one of Emzingo’s values, “Encourage Collaboration and Mutual Success.” Our hope is that we can create a multiplier effect by learning from, influencing and collaborating with other B Corp members.
Drew Bonfiglio is the co-founder of Emzingo Group, a people development company focused on leadership development and social impact. He has been involved with Net Impact in some capacity since 2008 when he join the graduate chapter at IE Business School. He has attended and spoken or facilitated at Net Impact national conference and is now a member of the events team for the Net Impact Boston chapter. Drew’s day job and Net Impact provide him the opportunity to focus on the things he is most passionate about: people development and social impact.