“Benefit corporations are companies that have a double goal and will have better economic performances compared to all other companies.” This is what the American Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert James Shillersaid in 2013 when talking about B Corps.
Benefit Corporations were born as an American movement. The first US state that acknowledged them was Maryland in 2010, followed by Virginia, Vermont, New Jersey, Hawaii, California and New York. In the following years, all of the US recognised this type of Corporation.
The first nation to acknowledge Benefit Corporations after the US was Italy, from January 1st 2016, implementing this new form of business in Europe for the first time. We talk about “acknowledging” Benefit Corporations because it is a legal entity.
The high level of attention this kind of corporation brought for environmental and social issues, as well as the impact that companies can have on people and on our planet was never seen before. The company is an ideal place to start from when your goal is to change society in a positive way, nevertheless you need shareholders, stakeholders and managers that understand how much the act of changing businesses’ paradigms is necessary for having a transformation for us and the world we live in.
So, what are Benefit Corporations? They are virtuous companies that operate through a new concept of making business, merging the objective of making a profit, typical of “for profit” corporations, with social and environmental goals, typical of “no profit” ones.
A corporation that, in the end, has Economic, Environmental and Social Sustainability as its main objective.
Having a positive impact on our society and biosphere is realised through concrete and programmed actions, enacted with the Impact Report that the BC is required to show publicly, together with its year-end financial statement.
While all “normal” corporations have satisfaction of shareholders as their only purpose, BCs want to improve all lives on the planet, with responsibility, transparency, interdependence, innovation and creation of wellness. Those who operate in a BC do so with common benefit in mind, pursuing positive results or reducing negative ones on people, environment, community and landscapes in a voluntary and programmed way.
What is the B Corp?
As soon as a Corporation becomes a Benefit one, it can measure its impact through the “B Impact Assessment (BIA)” and by having attained a pass mark verified by B Lab, a no profit company, dedicated to certificating BCs that want to become verified by B Corp. The assessment allows to measure and verify a lot of the company’s aspects in 5 areas: Governance, Workers, Community, Environment and Customers.
The B Corp has, in the end, a higher aspiration, because it certifies its own impact with a detailed analysis of programmed activities that the company itself is committed to achieve in the above-mentioned 5 areas.
The B Lab then creates standards, policies, means and programs that can make sure to modify the behaviour of companies towards a higher level of responsibility in respect of people and the planet, helping to create a B Corp community that is able to overcome the challenges that the start of the XXI Century is giving to us, about social and environmental themes, bearing in mind that we don’t have a planet B.
“Make business a force for good” can more or less be the motto of BCs, bringing companies to consider not only profit, but the higher goal of improving society and the effects on the environment.
Quaba has started directly as a Benefit Corporation to “Improve your habits” and help us be more and more eco-friendly, starting from a simple and healthy act such as drinking a glass of water. With our solutions we want to provide a new drinking water consumption model, disincentivising the use of plastic disposable containers and highlighting a resource that belongs to all of us and our planet: water. Sustainability, respect for the environment and ethics are fundamental principles for us that are at the base of our way of doing business.
We are proud of having attained our status of “Pending B-Corp” already, as proof of our spirit as an innovative start-up with a social and environmental mission.
We believe and we strive to promote B-Corp culture with all of our partners, so that more and more companies will start to consider their activities as a tool for helping our planet and our society become a better place.