Balancing Purpose with Profit – B Corporations #36 #cong22


In my opinion, B Corps is our one of the great opportunity to tackling the climate change and social injustice by providing an accessible process to assist businesses to change to a more sustainable and purpose-led culture. If you want to know the best way to balance Purpose for good with the desire to turn a Profit in your business then please consider becoming a B Corp. Business with purpose outperform the market by 45%. Imagine what a business with ‘purpose for good’ can achieve!!

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Key Takeaways:

  1. Businesses must radically change if climate action can be achieved. ‘Purpose for good’ should be at the core of every business to enable this necessary change while still balancing the desire to make profits. This is where becoming a B-Corp will help to balance purpose with profits
  2. Business with purpose outperform the market by 45%. Imagine what a business with ‘purpose for good’ can achieve
  3. B-Labs provide a ready-made structure to assist business to become a B-Corporation by enabling the systematic change while balancing Purpose and Profits for the benefit of our planet and people
  4. Business with a ‘purpose for good’ certification can attract and retain more talent while providing a measurable positive impact on community and the environment which translates directly into employee well-being. What is not to like about that!

About Sean Brady:

I have been remote working for 20 years and moved our IT service company to the next level in 2017 by going 100% remote with a ‘no visit’ rule to any customers or suppliers. This radical move was triggered by our involvement in the EU Climate Launchpad competition where we pose the question “Why do we need to meet in-person to do business?”. This purpose has lead me to the community of B Corporations.
We are now working with WDC, Trinity College Dublin and Microsoft on developing an AI solution to help businesses to assist Hybrid Working by avoiding unnecessary travel to the office and then donating the time saved from not travelling to local communities projects and charities for the benefit of society and the environment, this solution is called HybridAssist which is on it’s way to become a B-Corp.

Contacting Sean Brady:

You can connect with Sean on LinkedIn.

By Sean Brady

I am a big fan of Social Enterprises who, by their nature, have a very well developed purpose for the benefit of society however this is often missing in for-profit businesses. Becoming a B-Corp is a powerful way to embed ‘purpose for good’ into a for-profit business while balancing the understandable need to make a profit.

But. first, here’s the definition provided by the B Labs, the nonprofit behind B Corporations as follows.

Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. The B Global Network’s Theory of Change is to transform the economic system into a more inclusive, equitable, and regenerative global economy.

It is this ability to create a framework to balance purpose for good with profit making objectives that is the core value of becoming a B Corp which can deliver against varying areas of impact such as Community, Environment and Workers. So, when we ask ourselves ‘what is the purpose of business’, B Corps provide a system to create a balanced purpose which is not just about how much profit that can be made without considering the negative impact on our planet and people.

Being a founder of a few for-profit businesses, which are currently measured predominately by revenue growth and profit margins, it is so very easy to blind ourselves to the negative impact of doing business. Of course, if you are part of a non-profit or social enterprise then you are measured on your social impact however most for-profit businesses develop tunnel vision on quarterly revenue and profits to the detriment of everything else. B-Corps marries these two company types into a single structure with the benefits of both along with a certification process that provides the governance to ensure that this is not a white or green-washing exercise.

As we have heard from the discussions at COP27 in Egypt where representatives talk about the critical need for business to change so that climate change can be managed yet there is little practical advice to business. This is where B-Corps is the answer with Purpose for Good frameworks which are ready to be adopted for both small and large businesses in order to change the way organisations and society measures their activity while giving a clear definition of purpose to their employees and stakeholders.

I would like to state that I have no vested interest in B Labs and would also like to say that I am not an expert in this area but having the experience of creating both non-profit and for-profit business, this system of certification and governance is the best and most accessible solution that I have seen. So, if nothing else, I hope that by reading this article then it may have ignited your interest to investigate this approach further and apply this to where you work or will help you to select your next employer by these standards so you can evaluate them through this new lens to see their purpose for good.

My advice to get started is to secure senior buy-in at your company who have the commitment and passion to define and achieve their ‘Purpose for Good’ so it can be cascaded through the business, from the top down. It is all there for you on the B Corp website with a guided assessment process and material to help you to begin your journey to change the purpose of the business while balancing the original business objectives for growth. If you are a senior person in the organisation then this should be a non-brainer as there are plenty of well documented business benefits of becoming a B-Corp.

According to the book ‘Powered by Purpose’ by Sarah Rozenthuler, which Eoin Kennedy kindly lent to me to get my creative juices flowing, states that businesses with a purpose outperform the market by 45%. Imagine what a business with a purpose for good can do when it comes to talent attraction and retention by improving employee psychological well-being and productivity. The B-Corp system combined with their certified data driven process that goes far beyond just having a basic purpose statement. It may even help you to find a higher purpose that you had not even thought possible when we compete in this profit focused business world. You may surprise yourself. For the megalomaniacs out there, there is even a competition for ‘Best in the World’ so make it your purpose to start your journey today to become a B-Corp.

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