Why the industry should join the B Corp movement

By Paige Murphy | 14 October 2019

The B Corp movement, a private certification to for-profit companies, has been sweeping the globe as both consumers and staff demand that businesses be more socially and environmentally conscious. 

This rising expectation saw Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity dish out more awards to work this year that had purpose for social good as opposed to those that were purely profit driven. 

Quiip CEO and founder Alison Michalk says for the industry needs to work towards having more businesses B Corp certified. 

“If you look at the climate crisis just alone, we're running out of time to solve problems and I don't think we can rely on the government to fix the problems in the short timeframe we have,” Michalk says. 

“A lot of businesses in the B Corp space are really using their power and their leverage as businesses for corporate activism. If you look at the 'Not Business As Usual' campaign recently where thousands of companies signed and encouraged their staff to participate in climate strikes, I think as business leaders we have a lot of influence.”

The certification looks beyond product or service and towards a company's entire social and environmental performance with a minimum score of 80 required to pass.

It investigates five areas of a business: environment, community, customers, workers and governance.

Michalk’s agency Quiip is one of 22 businesses in the marketing and communications sector in Australia to gain a B Corp certification.

“The certification process is very difficult which is should be,” Michalk says.

“For a small business like mine, it did take me a few years but it wasn't a few years of working hard at it, it was a few years of wanting to make the changes that I should have in place.”

Things like offering to pay staff to do volunteer work had already been apart of her business prior to certification, however she found most of the team weren’t taking advantage of this.

To improve Quiip’s social impact, Michalk introduced a pro-bono offering instead.

“We developed a pro-bono offering which was a social media offering, and then staff were happy to do it because it was just using their skillset to help people,” Michalk says.

Michalk says the certification has also become a drawcard for future employees - something she has noticed since having Quiip certified.

“That was an unintended side effect,” she says. 

“I didn't expect that to be the case so that's really cool. I think definitely the younger generation are like, ‘That's who I want to work for. I'm just going to find a B Corp and only work for a B Corp’ which is amazing.”

While she doesn’t believe everyone will get involved in the movement, Michalk says it is a “great opportunity” for those who do to use their force for good.

The B Corp movement began in 2006 and has since gained momentum across the globe with brands like Patagonia, Who Gives A Crap, Australian Ethical Super and Beyond Bank all jumping on board to get certified.

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