B Corp: The Label for Companies that Benefit Everyone

Summary

The primary aim of the B Corp label is to promote a form of capitalism that creates value for both shareholders and society. Launched in the United States back in 2007 by B Lab, an NGO, this certification now encompasses 1,468 “Best-for-the-World Corporations.” Danone recently joined the community, announcing our partnership with B Lab on December 17 of last year, to enable B Corp certification for multinationals.

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On December 17, La Bellevilloise in Paris hosted a B Lab event attended by members from the NGO and representatives of B Corps labeled companies to make Danone’s affiliation with Best-for-the-World Corporations official. This was an opportunity for Danoners at the event to draw attention to the twofold economic and social project promoted by their company, and to announce Danone’s upstream contribution to the development of tools enabling B Corp certification for multinationals like their own.

“My job is to breathe life into our Manifesto. Joining the B Lab community while helping to expand it seems an excellent way to do that.” Lorna Davis

“My job is to breathe life into our Manifesto. Joining the B Lab community while helping to expand it seems an excellent way to do that. This partnership totally reflects our desire to promote new business models with benefits that are both social and economic,” says Lorna Davis, Executive Vice-President and Chief Manifesto Catalyst at Danone.

In fact, Danone’s entry into the B Lab galaxy furthers the Danone Way and the Manifesto, just as the Livelihoods Fund and the Danone Ecosystem Fund provide the company with concrete means to merge sustainable business development with local issues. According to Lorna Davis, “We believe that business has a responsibility regarding the products it puts on the market, the trades it brings into play and their impact on the environment.”

“Business for good”: a state of mind worth fostering

“It’s an ongoing process. We are constantly on the lookout for new ways to improve. And I am convinced that, with B Corp, we can pick up the pace and adopt a win-win entrepreneurial mindset while co-inventing the business of the future,” says Jérôme Boesch, President of Danone Spain.

This point of view is largely shared by Danone CEO Emmanuel Faber, for whom the goal is to make the company’s dual agenda a shared reality. As he says, “We want to lead our brands along the path toward the next generation of companies. And we also need to be inspired. A new movement like B Corp breathes new energy into our vision and enables us to co-create, because we believe that interdependency is the hallmark of business, both today and tomorrow.”

With this B Corp partnership, Danone has taken the next step in its twofold project.

And for B Lab and its B Corps, it is also an excellent omen for the future. “We believe that people deserve better companies. So we started in the United States, and then we rolled out to Canada, Latin America, Australia and Europe. And now we have the support of mayors of large cities like New York. But to make a real difference in the business and society of tomorrow, we need to spread out even farther,” says Marcello Palazzi, the head of B Lab Europe.

Bringing large companies into the B Corp fold is one way to achieve this. “For our organization, embarking on the B Corp process was very meaningful, but we’re so small. So we’re very happy that Danone is joining the community and wants to help expand it,” says Shazi Visram, Founder of Happy Family, an American organic baby food company.

In the months to come, Danone will be sharing the lessons learned from its own sustainability measurement program, Danone Way, and endeavoring to transpose that program into tools that can be used for B Lab certification. The company also plans to test a new questionnaire designed specifically for multinational corporations.

In short, this is a cooperative venture fired by the certainty that business can help to build a better world, and determined to make that world a reality for everyone.

Photo © : B Corporation

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