It’s the 10th anniversary of B Corp in Aotearoa and we’ve just hit our 100th B Corp business.
Which is great!
But also not so great.
I’ll get to that in a moment but first, let’s celebrate the achievement. Back in 2013, B Lab launched in New Zealand and Australia, opening a headquarters in Melbourne. Ten years on and the ANZA region combined has clocked up more than 500 B Corp businesses.
Of that number, New Zealand comprises 100. The first business to certify as a B Corp in New Zealand was Eagle Protect in Christchurch back in 2012. Led by the long-time B Corp champion Steve Ardagh, Eagle imports and distributes ethically sourced disposable gloves and clothing for the food, industrial and medical sectors. Hats off to Steve, he has passionately and tirelessly championed the B Corp movement here in Aotearoa for the last decade. Go you Steve.
Ten years later, we have reached the 100 milestone. If you search for the full list of all NZ B Corps on the official B Lab ‘Find a B Corp’ page, you’ll be given the full list of 100 with Christchurch creative agency Not Another listed as the most recently certified.
Anyway, that’s the good news. We’re part of a global community of more than 6000 B Corps and the trajectory is rising steeply.
The not-so-great news is that 100 NZ businesses is a tiny drop in the proverbial plastic-choked oceans.
Currently, there are about 562,524 businesses in New Zealand and about 2,314,200 employees. (I say ‘about’ because these are government figures from February 2021.) That’s a whole lot of businesses still running under the ‘business as usual’ model that 20th Century economist Milton Friedman made so popular in the 1970s. The Friedman doctrine, also called shareholder primacy or stockholder theory, is Milton’s ridiculous idea that the only responsibility of business is to increase its profits. That’s it. Milton opined that business doesn’t have to care about anything that doesn’t drive shareholder profits. In Milton’s la la land, there are no limits to the planet’s resources; we have endless supplies of everything, and there’s no need to mandate business to concern itself with pesky things like what happens to the waste generated by its products – that’ll just work out somehow.
And look where that’s got us. A world gripped by insatiable consumerism that is pushing the planet beyond its boundaries. Shareholder capitalism has delivered massive social inequality, modern slavery, biodiversity devastation, mass species extinction, global warming and climate change, senseless waste, and pervasive plastic pollution, which means we now have micro plastics in our food and water, which means its in our brains, organs, blood streams, and so on.
B Lab has the crazy idea that perhaps there’s a better way to run the world’s businesses and economies. Perhaps instead of polluting, destroying and perpetuating suffering every time we buy a t-shirt or chocolate bar, we could change a few things so that every action we take regenerates the planet and drives social equity.
Happily, the number of us ‘crazies’ who believe we could do a whole lot better is growing. And this is what the B Corp movement is about. The triple-bottom line of people, planet and profit because for a business to thrive in the long-term, it needs to think about its impact on and its relationship with the stakeholders that it relies on to be successful. This is not just the shareholders but also its customers, employees, the environment, and the local communities that it literally exists in.
More businesses are seeking something like B Corp certification to hold themselves to account, to assess their social and environmental performance against benchmarks, to send a message, not just to their customers but also to their business partners, their suppliers, and their employees.
B Corps also work together as well to drive better outcomes for their communities, recognising that business has a role to play in wider society is a core philosophy of B Corp. And increasingly businesses like B Corps are being recognised as more resilient and profitable business models. This is possibly due to the relationships with stakeholders that businesses rely on in times of difficulty or crisis.
Anyway. The upshot is that while I’m delighted to see us reach the 100 milestone of B Corps in Aotearoa, I’m thinking ‘what about the other 550,000 or so?‘ So this is a call to those half a million Kiwi businesses as well as the people who work for them.
If you’re an employee, ask your management ‘why aren’t we a B Corp?‘
If you’re interviewing for a new job, ask the people hiring, ‘are you a B Corp?‘
If you’re a customer or client, ask the people you’re paying, ‘are you working on becoming a B Corp?‘
If you’re an investor assessing a start-up’s potential, ask the founder, ‘have you started your B Corp journey?‘
Because we need every NZ business to be at the social and environmental standards of a B Corp as a minimum.
With that said, let me move back to ‘yay good onya!’ mode. I am now going to list all 100 B Corps from oldest to newest (as of March 2023). Please support these companies, they are trailblazers.
Eagle Direct Ltd
Brown Bread Ltd
International Volunteer HQ
Little Yellow Bird
Peoples Coffee Limited
Duffle & Co. Ltd
CQ New Zealand Ltd
Redvespa Consultants Ltd
Green Business HQ Ltd
Kathmandu (KMD Brands)
Synlait Milk Limited
Fix & Fogg
Like-Minded Learning Ltd
The Better Packaging Co
The Co-operative Bank
Raglan Food Co Limited
The Hello Cup Company
Just Add Lime
D3 Digital Limited
NEO Leaders Limited
twiice New Zealand Ltd
Owen River Lodge
Boma New Zealand
Kowtow clothing Ltd
Pic’s Peanut Butter
Workplace Assessment & Solutions Limited (WPAAS)
The Whole Story
Gourmate Pet Treat Co.
MoneyWorks NZ Ltd
Ozone Coffee Roasters Intnl
Taylor Pass Honey Co
Volpara Health Technologies Ltd
Blue Frog Breakfast
Tuhoe Tuawhenua Trust T/A Manawa Honey NZ
Tennent Brown Architects
Te Rehe Group Limited
NZ Native Honey Products
Here at Grow Good, it’s our job to help businesses become B Corp certified. Because the process can be confusing and daunting. We translate it, break it down, offer resources to make it as manageable as possible. If your business is ready to go B Corp, give us a shout or book in a discovery call.
Are you Ready to B Better?
Don’t wait to be a better business, get on with it now. The planet depends on it.
Feeling like you’re ready to B Better and want to see if we can help? Well then let’s have a chat! Book a call here – https://bit.ly/BookGGCall