This paper explores the history of the Corporate Social Responsibility movement of the past 30 years leading up to the emergence of the B Sector, a proposed fourth sector (in addition to the for-profit, governmental, and non-profit) of the economy comprised of B or Benefit Corporations: businesses that meet minimum standards with respect to social and environmental responsibility and overtly contribute to society through their activity. The founders of B Corporation and their nonprofit B Lab suggest that this sector will have a presence of “20,000 B Corporations, a $40 billion market presence, and one powerful voice.” This paper asks: What are the specific systemic changes the founders and key stakeholders of B Corporation seek to achieve by leveraging the collective power of this new sector of business? The data to answer this question was gathered through face-to-face and email interviews of seven key stakeholders from the B Corporation movement. Each subject was asked a series of five questions. The responses to these questions were transcribed and coded for relevant text, repeating ideas and themes. This paper suggests that B Corporation stakeholders seek the following systemic changes: reform of existing capital markets and/or the creation of new ones to serve emerging B Corporations; and government policy regarding social and environmental issues as they relate to businesses in general and B Corporations in particular. The data collected also recommends that B Lab should revisit its public communication to more clearly articulate its intentions to engage in these two areas. It also suggests that B Lab should address certain issues with the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE), one of its most important stakeholder groups, to prevent future obstacles to the growth of the B Corporation sector.
Business and Corporate Communications | Business Law, Public Responsibility, and Ethics | Politics and Social Change
Smith, John, "The World with B Corporations: Visions of Change" (2008). Capstone Collection. 384.