The italicized copy below stems from my book research. The emphasis for that research stemmed from several decades of observations that humanity is facing many more existential crises beyond just climate change and yet inclusive of it. Why discuss this here on my business blog? In my opinion, a radical reinvention of capitalism stands at the heart of saving humanity over the next 80 years with it happening sooner a huge win.
Well, if we don’t convince everyone that climate change is real, how do we fix it? A common misconception is that to create change, everyone needs to act. However, the data show otherwise. According to the Washington Post, a Gallup Poll in 1961 showed only 28% of respondents in a U.S. survey approved of the lunch counter sit-ins and freedom buses during the Civil Rights movement. Only 57% supported same-sex marriage when the U.S. Supreme Court decided in its favor in 2015. Erica Chenoweth from Harvard University analyzed hundreds of nonviolent campaigns over the course of a century. She found that it takes only around 3.5% of the population actively participating in civil protests to cause real political change.
This raises an interesting question for me. Does this mean 3.5% of companies need to B Corps to manifest the change we need? In the meditation community referencing laws of physics, it is said if 1% becomes organized the rest will tend to follow, is this the correct formula? Many economists have observed that give or take if around 15% of consumers lose interest in an industry that industry will face collapse.
While not being totally in synch with the paragraph above highlights the idea that not everyone needs to agree to effect positive change. That is awesomely good news at a time when we could really use some.
Regardless of which percentages make sense to you, it is clear we need many many more companies in the US alone to join the bandwagon. Currently, there are about 4000 currently certified B Corps with what I am told is another 4000 in the certification pipeline. Two ways to think about this, first based on historical performance a 100% growth in a year is amazing. A second 8000 is a loooonng way from a million or more. Clearly, we have work to do.
I am told there are about 100,000 companies that are acting as B Corps. This is goods news. I think the value in them becoming certified is less about improving their company performance and more a collaborative effort that supports a growing tribe that as it gets larger gains momentum to grow further. Energy the public can grasp and gravitate toward.
What can you do? If your company is not yet a certified B Corp, please consider getting certified. For me, it is a pain in the ass and yet worth it. Hence my enthusiasm in writing about it.
If your company is not yet on the path to a multi-stakeholder model maybe it’s some time for some deep inner reflection. It is not my place to tell you what your values are. If that internal discussion leads you to realize your personal income is more important than an abstract future failure of humanity, are you really OK with that?
There are over 30 million companies in America with about 6 million of those with employees. Yes, lots of room for improvement.
Have you ever written out your values? Whether for your personal goals or for your business this is the best starting point. The deeper you go during this process the more personal to you the values will be, therefore more motivating.
A place all of us can start is our relationship to the economy as an individual consumers. Think of it this way, every time you spend money you are actively voting for the kind world you wish to see. Does your bank finance projects you don’t agree with? Does your cell phone carrier support a political party that is in opposition to your deeply felt beliefs?
In me, On me, Around me.
In me references what we eat. We all can relate to the idea we are what we eat. Hence the growing popularity of organic, natural, and clean food. This is the first step most people take in shopping for their values.
On Me, makeup, shampoo, etc. I think you are catching on. What are you wearing?
Around Me, this is your electric vehicle, solar panels, etc. You recognize your role in a connected society.
Your business is not much different. Who is your bank? Are as many vendors as possible fellow values aligned B Corps? Do you treat your employees as you would want to be treated? Do you engage positively in your community?
In summary, the good news is not everyone needs to get on board. The challenge is we still have thousands of businesses to influence to change. Peer-to-peer “pressure” works. Everybody wants to be one of the “cool kids”. Saving humanity through how you operate your business needs to be cool.
More good news is consumers are out in front of the small and mid-size business community. It feels like everyone I know wishes it was easier to find and patronize values-aligned businesses. It feels like too much work to shop our values. I have money and want to spend it. When will the business community writ large wake up that they are leaving money on the table?
My prediction is in ten years few if any companies that are not addressing their customer’s values will NOT be profitable. Do ten years feel like forever far away? Where were you ten years ago? I am guessing you got here far faster than you anticipated and at that pace being back then. I will promise the next ten years will pass even faster. Just like my recent blog post on the Silver Tsunami discussing the lack of business succession planning with business owners collectively leaving billions of dollars on the table. Don’t be that clueless business owner unable to change your business approach to increase profits.
I remain positive. My nickname here at Dog & Catmandu is Poly, short for Pollyanna. If you ever visit and we hope you, do you can see our Unicorn and Rainbow art.
More good news unlike in 1994 when I co-founded my first triple bottom line multi-stakeholder manufacturing company today you don’t need to stumble along to make it up by yourself. There is help, inspiration, and a deep pool of experience. Stop going it alone, network, engage the expertise you need. It is time to be a B Corp.