The resilience of many businesses has been put to the test in recent times, with leaders re-assessing ways to improve their ability to withstand disruptions and setbacks. According to the Harvard Business Review, articulating a purpose that aligns a business with broader societal systems is critical to building resilience and long-term success.
Business leaders are becoming increasingly aware of the need for organisations to benefit all stakeholders, not just investors. However, the challenge for many is understanding how to take practical and measurable action.
B-Corporations – or B-Corps for short – are certified businesses that have shown a commitment to meeting the highest standards of social and environmental performance as well as public transparency. The growing movement has been pioneering a new way of doing business, which requires increased stewardship and a real shift in priorities.
July is B-Corp Month, which aims to build the B-Corp community in Australia and New Zealand, foster connections and encourage collaboration between B Corps to celebrate the motto ‘Better Together, for a Better World’.
NetSuite is proud to have a number of Australian customers that have achieved B-Corp certification, including sustainable packaging leaders BioPak, and healthy snack company Emma & Tom’s. Emma & Tom’s NetSuite solution was implemented - and continues to be supported - by NetSuite’s leading partner globally, JCurve Solutions (ASX: JCS). Emma & Tom's runs JCS’ exclusive small business edition of NetSuite, JCurve ERP.
"This is why becoming a certified B-Corp was important – to be set to a higher standard and become a part of a like-minded community of businesses, making a difference together."
Emma Welsh, co-founder and CEO at Emma & Tom’s, has always believed that part of being in business was to give back and leave the world a better place. She ensures environmental and social considerations play a key role in all corporate decision-making and practices.
“Our brand philosophy, Look After Yourself, runs throughout our business. We are not only committed to offering nutritious, minimally processed products that are good for our customers, but choose to use sustainable manufacturing and packaging that look after our environment, implement initiatives that look after our community and support local farmers and like-minded businesses,” she said.
“This is why becoming a certified B-Corp was important – to be set to a higher standard and become a part of a like-minded community of businesses, making a difference together. The B-Corp certification also provides Emma & Tom’s with the guidance and opportunity to continue to improve in every aspect of our organisation.”
BioPak was also founded with a mission to address the environmental impact of single-use disposable packaging made from fossil-based plastic and has been a certified B Corp since 2018.
Lea Maguero, BioPak’s Environment & Sustainability Manager and Growth Chair for the B-Local Sydney Leadership Committee, says BioPak and the B-Corp community have strongly aligned values, and believes the framework provided by the B Impact Assessment is the perfect roadmap to create a better way to do business.
“No company is perfect but being part of this global movement has helped us define a formal plan to improve on several fronts, learn from fellow B-Corps and implement industry best practices,” she said.
"This is a community of leaders, driving a global movement of people using business as a force for good. For instance, over 500 B-Corps have publicly committed to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to achieve net zero by 2030 at the UN Climate Change Conference COP25 in Madrid. This is 20 years ahead of the 2050 targets set in the Paris Agreement."
Certification is great because it can provide consumers with a level of trust with regards to the ethos of the business, but it is more than just marketing. Completing a B Impact Assessment and going through a rigorous certification – and re-certification – process gives business leaders the chance to step back and look at the distinct business areas that can be improved to align more with the business’ purpose.
It also helps incorporate triple bottom line principles of ‘People, Planet, Profits’ into a business’ DNA. The B Impact Assessment tool and the recertification process provide a roadmap to continuously improve how we do business. While Ernst & Young found that businesses that prioritised purpose outperformed the market, the consultancy also found that one of the obstacles laggards faced was in aligning systems, processes, performance targets and incentives around purpose – the certification helps businesses with refining this.
More than that, there is also value in being part of a bigger community.
According to Emma Welsh, “Partnering with like-minded businesses that also live the highest social and environmental standards is very important to us. Recently Emma & Tom’s officially partnered with Foodbank Victoria, collaborating in the release of a ‘Look After Others’ Natural Spring Water. The 100% recycled PET bottle uses 82% less resources compared to other plastic bottles and helps raise awareness for Foodbank and their fight against hunger.”
And as Lea Maguero said, “This is a community of leaders, driving a global movement of people using business as a force for good. For instance, over 500 B-Corps have publicly committed to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to achieve net zero by 2030 at the UN Climate Change Conference COP25 in Madrid. This is 20 years ahead of the 2050 targets set in the Paris Agreement.”
"It also helps incorporate triple bottom line principles of ‘People, Planet, Profits’ into a business’ DNA. The B Impact Assessment tool and the recertification process provide a roadmap to continuously improve how we do business."
It’s clear that businesses can benefit from having a clearly defined purpose that employees and customers understand and can get behind, and increased engagement from both can be especially critical to a business’ resilience during periods of disruption.
NetSuite works with a number of non-profits and social enterprises through its Social Impact program, to help them achieve their own missions. Through technology donations, pro bono consulting, and support services, NetSuite connects passionate employees, partners, and customers to work with non-profits – particularly those on the frontlines right now.
Business leaders that are looking to understand how they can take practical steps towards becoming a strong, purpose-driven business like Emma & Tom’s or BioPak can complete a B-Corp Assessment in their own time. Alternately, there are always opportunities to get involved with our many partners and customers and support a growing community of businesses looking to work together for higher social and environmental standards.
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