In the third episode of the Dentons Sustainability Talks, Elżbieta Lis, the host of the series, Partner and Head of the Sustainable Investment Practice at Dentons Europe met for an online interview with Katie Hill, Executive Chair of the Management Board at B Lab Europe. In this episode, Elżbieta and Katie talk about the B Corp movement, its roots and development across the Globe, and give us an example of how sustainability can be embedded into all aspects of a business.
Even though the awareness of sustainable business has been growing in recent years and was quite well understood, what sustainability was struggling with was the standard set of metrics that businesses could apply to really measure their impact, Katie Hill highlighted.
The B Impact Assessment (BIA) is a free proprietary tool that B Lab designed to help measure and manage a company's positive impact that stands out from other business and impact assessment tools. Even though it draws from other tools and collaborates with other entities, it is quite unique as it goes across all the ranges of business operations.
Even though the BIA is complex and might be time consuming, it is an interesting process that looks at crucial areas of operations: employees, environment, community, suppliers and customers. The main purpose of the BIA is to spot those areas that a company might have neglected and elevate the impact to reach a holistically sustainable business model.
What makes B Corp different from all other certifications available on the market, apart from getting across all areas of the business, is a strong community of leaders who are themselves going a step ahead to create the change in the system. It is quite ambitious, as a movement, not stopping at a company level, trying to be more powerful and creating even bigger change.
It is inspiring how businesses act on issues where governments are too slow, noted Elżbieta Lis. Recently, B Lab Europe, together with 60 individual European B Corps, in their response to the EU Commission’s consultation on Sustainable Corporate Governance, called on the EC to require company directors to balance the interests of all those who contribute to business success. B Corps believe that business should consider not only shareholders’ interests but also their stakeholders’, including customers, employees, the community in which they operate, the greater society, and even future generations. “It has been one of the heaviest consultations that they have run”- states Katie.