B impact assessment
FIVE REASONS ...
Think of your business as a cake. Customers used to only care if the cake tasted good before allowing the price of the cake to determine their spending choice. Then, customers began to note the quality of the ingredients as well as taste - are the ingredients wholesome? real? More recently, customers are asking how the cake was made. Are the ingredients local and sustainably sourced? were the farmers paid fair wages? The ingredients of your cake (i.e. your business) are the owners, labor, suppliers, community, customers and environment. Without any one of these ingredients your business cannot exist.
In 2007, Goldman Sachs published a study showing that a majority of consumers determine brand loyalty by reference to corporate social responsibility (CSR) over price. Goldman Sachs noted that as more of the millennial generation makes a significant impact on the consumer base, this trend will increase.
With an over $30 trillion wealth transfer from the baby boomer generation to the millennial generation and women projected to occur over the next few decades, businesses can expect greater demand for transparency and accountability by consumers. To the inquisitive consumer, CSR policies will not be enough. Such policies are nebulous and provide only the snapshots of what a business may want to project of itself. A B Impact Assessment score, however, is comprehensive and concrete. It provides an examination into how the business operates and the impact it has on owners, society and the environment. Those businesses able to provide a B Impact Assessment score will be ahead of the game.
The B Impact Assessment provides a flexible road map through sustainability and on to positive impact by starting the hard process of internalizing the real costs of doing business and removing exploitation from the supply chain. The B Impact Assessment not only provides a list of best practices for governance, workers, suppliers, community and the environment, it also weights the impact of each of the practices so that companies can pick and choose what, how and when to integrate a particular practice into their operations over time. It's not a race. It's a nonlinear journey. Enjoy the ride.
Integrating the B Impact Assessment means actively engaging your workforce in two ways. It allows employees to help shape the unique way the company interacts with its community and its environment. It also sets up a two-way dialogue between management and employees that can tap into the unlimited creativity that makes a business thrive. Thrive and save money. B Corporations that commit to positive impact on society and the environment and engage in annual impact assessment tend to have less employee turnover, saving those companies the costs to recruit, hire and train new employees.
Understanding impact on a comprehensive level is the first step towards accepting it and then conscientiously improving it.
Improving impact has its reward. There is a growing awareness that taking a collective approach to business can create long term success. While the B Corporation certification and B Impact Assessment are relatively new concepts, many B Corporations have been employing these types of business practices for decades if not generations. Among the over 2,400 certified B Corporations are Dr. Bronner's, Seventh Generation, Patagonia, Dr. Hauschka Skin Care, and Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream. These companies demonstrate stability and long term success judged by both conventional standards and ancient wisdom.
BEntities recognizes and accepts a worldview that human beings, together with our environment and everything in it, are interconnected. Consequently, pursuing any one thing singularly, whether it's profit or mission, can lead to absurd results.
Many for-profit companies recognize the importance of the workforce, but, may overlook the importance of their suppliers, community and the environment. Integrating the B Impact Assessment into your business brings these key stakeholders into the conversation and allows management to formulate a balanced strategy that makes sense on a collective level, for the long term.