What’s the landscape of B Corps in the country now?
In Canada, you’re seeing what you’re seeing globally. Companies are realizing that it’s not unidirectional. You don’t have to be a nonprofit to be in the impact space. More companies understand this profit-purpose nexus. Within Canada, the B Corp community is coast to coast now. We’re not in any of the territories yet, but we’ve signed up our first B Corp in PEI.
It is. For us, the power is providing a platform for those companies to amplify their action across the country and inspire changemakers. We’ve also been seeing a lot of interest from larger organizations such as Danone and Business Development Bank of Canada. When we started out, we saw more small-to-medium sized businesses sign up. They were more nimble and had agile leadership. To see Danone take this on has inspired other large companies and has shown them that they can have this ambition of impact.
Companies are seeing ways in which they can be drivers of a more inclusive economy.
Where do you see the B Corp movement going in the next decade?
Companies are asking, how are we making coming to work more inclusive? That includes parental leave benefits, and advanced income programs to borrow small loans in the workspace if they’re in a state of emergency. It’s about thinking through ways that employers can play that role, so employees aren’t relying on government, charities, or other intermediaries for support.
I hear talk of more employer and employee activism. Are you seeing that in the B Corp space?
Yes. We’re seeing employers advocating for living wage policies in their communities in an active way, rather than waiting to be handed a living wage policy from the top down. They’re going to the government and saying, ‘We support this because it builds resilience of our community if workers can support their own families and communities with a stable, living wage.’
The impact assessment tool is more popular than the certification! Where does the assessment stand and where is it going?
It’s a free impact assessment tool that’s online and available for anyone to use. We update it every three years. Version six is coming up. We continue to develop it as those definitions of impact evolve and new companies come into the fold and take the assessment. We’ve received 9,000 comments on different aspects of business practice over three years. Our independent standards advisory council worked with us to incorporate that feedback.
What have been some of the updates?
Diversity, equity, and inclusion metrics have been broadened to reflect new practices and approaches to creating a more inclusive economy. Contract workers are now better represented in the new assessment with consideration of their rights and the changing nature of work.
Why should people take the impact assessment?
The assessment helps to understand what you’re doing, and to even create that benchmark so you can know where you’re going from there. It has uncovered blind spots for companies as well, so they can address those gaps. Companies that want to work toward the Sustainable Development Goals have also found it to be a valuable tool.