Why strive to be the best digital agency in the world, when we can be the best digital agency for the world? That tiny 3 character distinction is the reason we exist and is the foundation behind the soulpepper movement. It’s also the kind of thinking that resulted in soulpepper recently being certified as an official B Corp. Now why, dear reader, should that matter to you?
A New Kind of Corporation For a New Economy
B Corps are a new type of corporation that uses the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. The vision is simple yet ambitious: to create a new sector of the economy comprised of B (for Benefit) corporations that meets rigorous and independent standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.
B Corps are certified through a rigorous screening process administered through B-Labs, an independent non-profit organization. To qualify as a B Corp, an organization must have an explicit social or environmental mission, and a fiduciary responsibility to take into account the interests of workers, the community and the environment as well as its shareholders. It must also publish independently verified reports on its social and environmental impact alongside its financial results.
Not Business as Usual
soulpepper was well acquainted with the B Corp concept since our early days with institute B, a entrepreneur accelerator in Vancouver, Canada. A huge proponent of the B Corp movement, iB was the birthplace where resident soulpepper freethinker Rik Klingle-Watt wrote Not Business as Usual – a film about disrupting the business quo. Not Business As Usual is a provocative look at capitalism that has played to audiences all around the world and features several members of the B Corp community. In addition to being the Official Selection at multiple film festivals, it was also recognized with a B Corp award at the 2014 Champions Retreat.
soulpepper Sensei Sean Jimenez accepting an award at the B Corp 2014 Champions Retreat.
So while we were intimately familiar with the certification process, we didn’t anticipate how hard it would be to actually certify. It was clear right from the beginning that this was not greenwashing. Or a clever marketing ploy. B Lab has a highly attuned bullshit meter, which means any organization approaching certification with anything less than 100% authenticity to be a force for good in the world, is destined to fail.
The rigor that B Lab built into the assessment meant we needed to examine and prove every statement. Every intention. It forced us take a hard look at what we were doing, and more importantly, how we were doing it.
While the process was difficult, and at times even painful, we take pride in knowing every certified B Corp has gone through the very same trial by fire. It also provides peace of mind knowing how well we performed against such a high set of standards. Those standards are resulting in other benefits. Not only are B Corps making a tangible difference in the world, they are doing it by outperforming old school business. Evidence proves that B Corps – as innovative, forward-thinking businesses – are typically better-managed companies. Since the global financial crisis in 2008, B Corps have been three times less likely to fail than equivalent non-B Corp companies.
Makes you wonder why all businesses aren’t B Corp certified, doesn’t it?
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Written by Rik Klingle-Watt
About the author
Rik Klingle-Watt is a soulpepper and the writer of Not Business as Usual, an award-winning documentary about disrupting the business quo.
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