The B Corp movement – a group of for-profit companies that have committed to pursuing social or environmental goals alongside their financial targets – has increasingly global aspirations.
Initially founded in the U.S. in 2006, there are now almost 1,400 B Corps around the world, of various forms and sizes. This September, B Lab (the U.S. non-profit behind the movement) is bolstering its international presence with the launch of two new B Lab ‘global partners’, in the UK and Portugal – to add to its existing offshoots in Canada, Australia, Europe and South America.
At Bridges, we have always believed that business can be harnessed as a powerful force for good. Since our foundation in 2002, we have been investing in for-profit UK companies that are seeking to have a positive social and environmental impact – not just because they are good for the world, but also because businesses that are helping to solve society’s most pressing challenges have strong long-term growth prospects.
We are seeing more businesses like this emerging than ever before. In this postcrisis world, as the millennial generation increasingly comes to the fore, there is a growing appetite for a different approach to business and investment – one where making a profit and tackling complex social and environmental problems are no longer mutually exclusive. Certifying as a B Corp is a way for companies to signal their commitment to this new way of doing business.
But if this ‘profit with purpose’ movement is going to succeed and scale, these companies need risk capital to support their growth. And this will only happen if investors are persuaded that this approach can genuinely create more valuable, more sustainable businesses. It is to this end that we are publishing this short paper. Building on the work done last year by the Social Impact Investment Taskforce, it aims to help potential investors understand exactly what being a B Corp involves, and the opportunities and challenges this presents.
Read the full report here.