The UK’s B Corp community has been getting a little hot under the collar lately.
With B Corp-certified Havas taking on the Shell account, 26 communications and advertising agencies have called on B Lab (the company that issues B Corp certifications) to strip several agencies with ties to fossil fuels – including Havas, Tam-Tam/TBWA and MSQ – of their certification.
“There are B Corp agencies working with the fossil fuel businesses that derive 95%+ of their revenues from fossil fuel, and that % has been growing,” said Chris Norman, founder and CEO of GOOD Agency (the UK’s largest and highest-scoring B Corp agency), in light of the Havas news. “They are also working with the businesses that enable and fund these fossil fuel companies. This is ambiguous at best, disingenuous and hypocritical at worst.”
B Corp certification requires an organisation to meet the highest possible ethical standards, and prioritise positive impacts for people and the planet alongside turning a profit. So making nice with the forces that are compromising the safety and stability of our future would, you’d think, run a little counter to the B Corp philosophy.
B Corp is doing a lot of good, no question. But as Chris Norman rightly points out, even the world’s leading ethical business certification is a work-in-progress. The B Corp certification process offers us a framework for an alternative to the ‘profit at all costs’ business model, and provides us with the blueprint for a system where businesses are designed to serve society and the environment. It’s a glimmer of a future where CEOs are no longer beholden to quarterly profit reports.
However, the comprehensive nature of the audit process means that many corporate leaders might feel intimidated to take on the challenge. And we