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The B Corporation And VolunTourism
As the purpose of business moves from maximizing stockholder's return on investment to shared value creation and maximizing societal return on involvement, companies need a set of guiding principles and metrics to assist them in developing and maintaining consistency in their commitment to these goals & objectives. VolunTourism Operators, in particular, need a platform from which they can better convey this very commitment. Fortunately, B Corporation has come along to provide these services and to assist companies in benchmarking their socio-environmental impacts. To learn more about these efforts, I have asked Jordan David Chazin, of B Corporation, to answer this issue's 3Q's.
1) What was the inspiration behind the B Corporation?
"Jay Coen Gilbert, Bart Houlahan, and Andrew Kassoy, the Co-Founders of B Lab, sought to create a mechanism that could leverage the power of business to create positive social and environmental change. In order to accomplish this, B Lab developed three main objectives: to build a community of socially and environmentally responsible companies (B Corporations), to establish a legal framework that would support and protect triple-bottom-line businesses (Benefit Corporation Legislation), and to create a way to drive investment capital towards social impact (the upcoming Global Impact Investment Ratings System, aka GIIRS)."
VolunTourism has been growing over the last decade and as a result more and more VolunTourism Start-ups are coming into the marketplace. One of the more difficult questions for them to resolve is whether to launch as a nonprofit or as a for-profit. What do you feel are the compelling reasons for a start-up to consider launching as a B Corporation?
"For starters, B Lab only certifies for-profit companies as Certified B Corporations. That being said, I think that non-profit and for-profit businesses alike can have a considerable social and environmental impact. There’s a common misconception – one that B Lab is actively trying to combat – that for-profit companies, by their nature, are greedy or uninterested in giving back to the community. What we have found from talking to the thousands of businesses that have applied for B Corp certification (and especially from the 364-and-counting certified B Corps) is that a company can be mission-driven and committed to social and environmental change while still turning a healthy profit. Becoming a Certified B Corporation can be especially lucrative for start-ups, in that by meeting and exceeding B Lab’s established standards, they distinguish themselves as extraordinary companies."
3) For companies that are not formed in the United States, what advice would you offer them in their effort to develop themselves along similar guidelines to those established by B Corporation?
About Jordan David Chazin
"The beauty of B Lab’s B Impact Rating System (BIRS) is that it is completely free, open, and transparent. This boils down to a philosophy of inclusion – that is, the more people that know about our work, the better. Frankly, if a company decides to shape the way they do business using our set of guidelines and standards and ultimately doesn't become a certified B Corp, that's still a victory for us. Even though we didn't get to add another company to the community, we still helped a company create social and environmental impact through the way they do business. It's a win-win."
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