B Corp companies have a mission to maximize “stakeholder value.” Stakeholders include employees, community and the environment, in addition to shareholders. Consider it like certification of a LEED building or Fair trade coffee, but for companies.
Since 2007 more than 1,300 companies in 41 countries have been certified. In Canada, there are now more than 130 B Corps including companies such as Hootsuite, Beau’s All Natural Beer, Ethical Bean and Trico Homes.
To become a B Corp a company must complete an Impact Assessment, this assessment focuses on 4 key areas of your business: employees, community, the environment and governance. The goal is using business as a force for good. The vision for B Corps is that one day all companies compete not only to be the best in the world, but the Best for the World, and as a result society will enjoy a more shared and durable prosperity.
ESOPs are businesses that have some degree of employee ownership, through the purchase of shares in the company. In Canada, ESOPs are in place in all size businesses and industries.
It’s been our experience that employee-owned businesses are connected and invested in their local community. They tend to care more about the impact the business has on where they live. As such they care more about the community, the environment and as both employees and shareholders, they also care about both of these.
In addition, implementing an ESOP tends to increase employee engagement, decrease turnover, increase margins and profits.
Cleary, an ESOP fits well within the B Corp vision of businesses not only competing to be the best in the world but also the best for the world.
We’ve interviewed companies that have both an ESOP and a B Corp and have learned that they find amazing alignment between being a B Corp and being an ESOP. That’s because both models are about business sustainability and helping the larger community succeed.
Our vision at ESOP Builders is for more B Corp companies to discover ESOPs and ESOP companies to discover B Corps, as both models offer benefits for businesses who share similar values.
Contributed by Jennifer Williams – Employee Ownership Specialist
Jennifer has spent over 15 years involved in businesses that make an impact in the world. To contact Jennifer directly, firstname.lastname@example.org.