Wealth inequality is the worst it has ever been. In 2019 the world’s richest 26 people owned as much as the poorest 50% – so that’s 26 people vs 3.8 billion.
The natural world is shrinking at an alarming rate. Since 1970 there has been a 60% decrease in wildlife population.
The environment is being degraded. In 2018, 12.7 million tonnes of plastic entered the oceans – all that in just one year.
And then we have Covid 19, which is only accelerating these problems. Lockdown saw Jeff Bezos add $60bn to his net worth, whilst the gig economy delivery drivers who are the last link in the Amazon chain had to work, whether shielding or not, as they had no sick pay. Disposable PPE whilst good at limiting virus transmission just adds to the world’s plastic issues. And the virus itself is thought to have originated from ‘wild’ animals, possibly as a result of humans crashing into their world.
People want change. They want healthcare systems improved, poverty reduced, climate change addressed, the economic divide closed, and discrimination and racism addressed. (Edelman Trust Barometer 2021)
But they are losing trust in governments.
So who are they expecting to step up? Business. Yes, you read that right, business. More trusted than the media. More trusted than governments and more trusted than NGOs
CEOs should step in when government does not act and CEOs should hold themselves accountable to the public, not just shareholders. This is what two thirds of people are saying, globally.
But what about the UK. Well the numbers are even higher. Over three quarters of people in the UK believe capitalism is not working well, and also believe that businesses have a responsibility to protect the natural environment.
If we give the people everything they want, does it not make business non-viable. No. The data is clear and shows that businesses who seek to grow stakeholder value as opposed to shareholder value deliver better returns over the long term. (Alex Edmans – Growing the Pie)
So there is no reason not to be a better business. A business that holds workers, community, the environment and all its stakeholders as important. A more sustainable, responsible, ethical business. One that feels good and you are proud of.
The best businesses hold themselves up to set of standards – around all the key stakeholder areas of workers, community, environment, customers, supply chain and corporate governance. And they enshrine their ways of working in a legal change to their articles of association. They are B-Corporations. And you will find them everywhere.
From small one person operations to multinationals. There are consultants, software companies, breweries, farms, fashion companies, banks – all industries are represented.
The one thing they have in common is a dedication to making the world a better place through better business.
Have a read of their ‘declaration of interpendence’, below. If you are in any way moved by this, then maybe being a B-Corporation could be something you aim for. Contact us firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The B-Corp Declaration of Interdependence
We envision a global economy that uses business as a force for good.
This economy is comprised of a new type of corporation – the B Corporation – which is purpose-driven and creates benefit for all stakeholders, not just shareholders.
As B Corporations and leaders of this emerging economy, we believe:
- That we must be the change we seek in the world.
- That all business ought to be conducted as if people and place mattered.
- That, through their products, practices, and profits, businesses should aspire to do no harm and benefit all.
- To do so requires that we act with the understanding that we are each dependent upon another and thus responsible for each other and future generations.