Leadership
B Corps Launch Collaborative Climate Change Action Strategy

Some of the world's most climate-progressive businesses worked together to shape short- and long-term plans at B Leadership Summit.

Leaders from some of the world’s most climate-progressive companies gathered Feb. 11–14 in New Mexico to shape a short- and long-term collective action plan to address the threats of climate change.

In attendance at the B Leadership Summit were more than 35 North American Certified B Corporations that have demonstrated leadership in environmental action and progress — many have been designated “Best for the World” in the Environment category.

B Corps are accelerating a global culture shift to build a more inclusive and sustainable economy. Today there are more than 2,700 B Corps across more than 150 industries and 60 countries, unified by one common goal: to redefine success in business. Any company can measure and manage social and environmental performance with the B Impact Assessment.

“With a decade of credibility as their foundation, B Corporations have a unique and powerful role to play — both as a collection of purpose-driven businesses and in collaboration with others — to reverse climate change,” said B Lab Global Ambassador Kim Coupounas. “The seeds planted at this gathering will accelerate existing efforts while serving as a model for collective action for others to follow.”

In creating an initial six-month action plan and shaping a 10-year vision, the B Leadership Summit attendees identified concrete steps to accelerate climate mitigation work collectively, as individual companies, and through cross-sector collaboration and public advocacy.

Emerging from the Summit is the B Corp Climate Action Collaborative — a group of committed B Corps interested in furthering this work, which has agreed upon a draft Vision statement: “We demonstrate the collective power of our businesses to transform commerce, and to create an inclusive society and environmental regeneration. We commit to taking bold steps towards climate resiliency by using advocacy, cross-sector collaboration, corporate action, and the capital markets to stop emissions and drawdown carbon, improve global well-being.”

The Collaborative is launching with five B Corp Action Groups:

  • Climate Advocacy Action Group to be led by Chris Miller, Social Mission Activism Manager at Ben & Jerry’s;

  • Measure What Matters CO2 Reduction Action Group to be led by Saskia van Gendt, Senior Director of Sustainability at method products pbc;

  • Climate Employee Engagement Action Group to be led by Rob Michalak, Director of Social Impact at Ben & Jerry’s;

  • Pilot for Sustainable Packaging to be led by Sasha Calder, Director of Sustainability at Beautycounter; and

  • Climate Action Collaborative Governance Creation Group to be led by Stephen Irvin, CEO of Amicus Solar Cooperative.

“This summit demonstrates an important shift in the B Corp community that’s underway, from supporting the growth of a purpose-driven model, to harnessing that collective power into a compelling level of advocacy and actions that can drive the critical changes necessary to create a world that serves our collective humanity and the earth we all share,” Michalak said.

The Collaborative’s Action Groups have each developed six-month action plans to drive wider stakeholder engagement and to further this work, with the next major convening to take place in September at the 2019 B Corp Champions Retreat in Los Angeles.

The setting

The Summit was held in and hosted by Taos Ski Valley, a B Corp in New Mexico.

“As the world’s first Certified B Corporation ski resort and one with a deeply vested interest in changing our current climate trajectory, we’re honored to be hosting the 2019 B Leadership Summit,” said Taos Ski Valley CEO David Norden. “We can’t wait to see the transformational change that will come from this gathering of leaders.”

Summit participants

Image credit: B the Change

B Corps participating in the leadership summit included: 1908 Brands, 3Degrees, All Good, Alter Eco Foods, Amicus Solar Cooperative, Athleta, B Lab, Badger, Beautycounter, Ben & Jerry’s, C.F. Martin & Co., Cabot Creamery, Cotopaxi, Danone North America, Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, Eileen Fisher, Gaia Herbs, Guayaki, Habitus Incorporated, KeHE Distributors, MegaFood, Meow Wolf, method, Namaste Solar, Native Energy, Participant Media, Patagonia, Provoc, Rhino Foods, SecondMuse, Seventh Generation, Simple Energy, Simply Straws, Taos Ski Valley, Inc., and Wanderlust Festival.

“Business is changing, and remaining relevant is no longer simply about a product or service, yielding a transaction. The role of the private sector in shaping and driving positive economic, social, and environmental change is critically important,” said Angela McElwee, President of Gaia Herbs. “This is our responsibility as leaders, and part of a new paradigm of measuring what success looks like in business. The opportunity to work alongside fellow B Corporations this week on climate was equal parts inspiration and perspiration. We worked hard and with urgency, and I found myself deeply appreciative of this community filled with so many aligned leaders, coming together with shared purpose. Business as a force for good is a powerful vehicle for creating change — and hope — as we work to address the effects of climate change.”

“The B Leadership Summit was an amazing gathering of business leaders determined to work together to find systemic solutions to address the biggest challenge of our time — climate change,” said Seventh Generation CEO Joey Bergstein. “This gathering served as an inspiring example of how business can work together as a force for good.”

“Given the critical state of our Earth and the increasing divide between her most privileged and most vulnerable people, the world needs the B Corp movement now more than ever,” said Amy Hall, VP of Social Consciousness at Eileen Fisher. “I left the Summit with a profound sense of hope in the power of business to heal the planet for future generations.”

A version of this post first appeared on Medium on February 20, 2019.

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