There’s no denying that we’re living on a planet in crisis, and there’s no denying the historic role that business has played in landing us in this predicament. In response, Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) investing, conservation philanthropy, carbon neutral certifications, and a myriad of other efforts aimed at reforming the traditionally extractive business landscape are on the rise. In few places has a shift towards better business been seen as clearly than with the rise of two globally prominent business networks: the 1% for the Planet and B Corp movements.
B Corp and 1% for the Planet: Business Networks for Good
1% for the Planet was started by Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard in 2002, committing any business bearing the 1% label to an annually certified commitment to donate 1% of revenues to vetted and pre-approved conservation nonprofit organizations. As stated by Yvon: “The intent of 1% for the Planet is to help fund these diverse environmental organizations so that collectively they can be a more powerful source in solving the world’s problems.” The 1% for the Planet network currently consists of over 5,400 companies globally, giving a total of $435M to nonprofits worldwide since inception, and $66M in 2022 alone.
B Corp, on the other hand, is a designation that a business is meeting high standards of verified performance, accountability, and transparency on factors from employee benefits and charitable giving to supply chain practices, input materials, community engagement, social and environmental practices, and more. There are now 6,300 B Corps certified globally. Started in 2006 by the B Corp certifying agency, B Lab, companies must do the following to achieve certification:
- Demonstrate high social and environmental performance by achieving a B Impact Assessment score of 80 or above (LOACOM re-certified at the end of 2022 with an assessment score of 94.9) and passing a risk review. Multinational corporations must also meet baseline requirement standards.
- Make a legal commitment by changing their corporate governance structure to be accountable to all stakeholders, not just shareholders, and achieve benefit corporation status if available in their jurisdiction.
- Exhibit transparency by allowing information about their performance measured against B Lab’s standards to be publicly available on their B Corp profile on B Lab’s website.
Individually, each of these consortiums is making great strides in activating their employees, customers, members, friends, and followers on the most critical issues of our time, with an increased focus by both entities on issues of racial, social, and environmental justice. Collectively, there are close to 12,000 companies at the global level who have accepted, as part of their charge, to leverage their business as a force for good.
Growing the B1 Movement
Now this is where it gets interesting.
Of the nearly 12K companies committed globally to either one of these change-making networks, a small percentage — 250 individual companies, LOACOM included — have taken it upon themselves to dig a little deeper by committing to both networks. This subset of businesses are referred to as “B1’s” and hold both B Corp certification and 1% for the Planet membership. Years ago, leaders like Jim Osgood (former CEO, Klean Kanteen) and Caroline Duell (CEO, All Good) were espousing the virtues and benefits of being associated with both brands, but in reality, the B1 network is still in its infancy. Leaders from B1 companies are just now starting to seriously look for opportunities to build the B1 effort, most recently gathering in Philadelphia at the B Corp Champions Retreat in December 2022 to move thoughts into action.
To gain some insight into the movement and the opportunities within it, LOACOM recently polled B1 members to learn about their demographics, interests, etc. The results provided some great insight into potential next steps.
Key Survey Findings (abbreviated)
A large majority of our respondents were in North America.
A majority of respondents had been certified as B1’s for less than two years.
Nearly all respondents were interested in collective action on critical issues facing people and planet.
Climate change was the top issue driving interest in collective action.
Survey results indicated not only a high interest in collective action, but also yielded valuable information (not shown) about possible funding strategies to support B1 campaigns, storytelling and communication opportunities, B1 network growth, and more.
As the B Corp and 1% for the Planet networks continue to gain traction at the global level, interest and growth in B1 participation will also surely grow. As this happens organically, there are a few ways to support a more intentional path forward.
For general supporters and consumers:
- Buy products from B Corp and 1% for the Planet companies (B Corp directory; 1% for the Planet directory)
- Have your employer become a member of either/both networks. If you already belong to one network, encourage your employer to become a B1
- Donate to B Lab or 1% for the Planet
- Follow B Lab and 1% for the Planet on social media
For existing B1 companies:
- Join the LinkedIn B1 Member’s Group (We are B1’s)
- Complete the B1 survey (email firstname.lastname@example.org for survey link)
- Join LOACOM as a B1 thought partner (email email@example.com)
- Elevate the role that B1s can play as a subset of their parent networks
- Offer to spotlight B1 companies in blogposts, webinars, podcasts, etc.
- Share this blog!!
For our part, in the weeks and months ahead, LOACOM will be highlighting both the leadership and some of the business members of B Corp and 1% for the Planet via our podcast, Let’s Get Changed. Be sure to subscribe to catch all of the action! And if you have suggestions for additional B1 content, strategy, or creative opportunties, please don’t hesitate to contact LOACOM at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The time for businesses to play a regenerative role in the healing of a broken planet and a divided people is now. Help us be — or B1 — the change.