B the Change

“Be the change you want to see in the world” – this popular quote paraphrasing Gandhi’s philosophy has been one of my favorites for a long time. Now it means even more to me.


Payton Communications recently underwent a rigorous impact assessment to become a certified B Corporation. A B Corporation is triple bottom line certification recognizing companies who believe there is a better way to do business by focusing on people, planet, and profit[1]. The “B” stands for “benefit,” as in the public benefits that are created for all of the stakeholders engaged in your business, not just your shareholders. B Corps are certified by a nonprofit, B Lab, to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.


We achieved our certification just in time to attend the B Corporation Champions Retreat this week in Half Moon Bay, California. Nearly 300 B Corp champions attended representing 60 industries and 15 countries. I am so proud to be a part of this inspirational group of social entrepreneurs who are using the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. B Corps are literally changing our world for the better.


B Corps are creating a new sector of the economy and they are thriving! There are 631 B Corps so far, representing $4.2 billion in revenue. An interesting stat I heard at the retreat is that while 36 percent of startups fail after two years, only 10 percent of B Corps fail after two years.


Measuring what matters helps companies attract and retain the best talent. According the Harvard Business Review, millennials, which represent roughly 50 percent of the global workforce, want work that connects to a larger purpose. Employees who care about this are more likely to step up and lead. Hewitt Associates has found that companies with higher levels of employee engagement outperformed the stock market by nearly 20 percent!


Not every company will meet the high standards to become a B Corp, but there is no harm in taking the assessment to benchmark performance and use the tools to set goals for improvement. Additionally, by encouraging your company to purchase products or services from a B Corp, you elevate the movement. Corporate purchasers can search the B Corps directory to find everything from office supplies to consulting and banking services.


Consumers can also support B-commerce! Check out Amazon’s Vine.com to shop by B Corporation. They have 932 products up there from baby stuff to household items. I’ve already bought cleaning products and office supplies from certified B Corps and now I’m about to buy an awesome hammock to kick back in while I think about even more ways to “B the Change.”

[1] B Corps are different from Benefit Corporations, a class of corporation required by law to create general benefit for society as well as for shareholders (Benefit Corporation is a legal status just like LLC or S Corp).

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