Overview

Doing Business Differently

About B Lab

B Lab is a nonprofit that serves a global movement of people using business as a force for good. Its initiatives include
B Corporation certification, administration of the B Impact Assessment and management software, and advocacy for new governance structures like the public-benefit corporation.

B Lab’s mission speaks to our founder Sam Gary’s belief in harnessing the power of private enterprise for public benefit.”

— Dave Younggren, CEO, Gary Community Investments

Purpose of Funding

To help make Colorado a leader in responsible business practices, GCI provided B Lab with funding to establish an office in Colorado. By working with a coalition of organizations to create an ecosystem shift, B Lab Colorado has increased the number of Certified B Corps in our state that are committed to achieving the highest standard of social and environmental performance. We followed on with funding for the Best for Colorado campaign, which engaged a broader base of companies in Colorado to measure and improve their social and environmental impact while raising B Corp’s awareness across the state through a comprehensive marketing and outreach campaign.

Amount Funded

$2,042,000

Funding Period

2013 - 2018

Outcome Area

Community & Economic Development

Impact & Results

Galvanizing a Local B Corp Movement

Through our investments, the Certified B Corp community grew by more than 300 percent, helping to galvanize a community of influential business leaders that are engaged in creating real change and recruiting their peers to do the same. In addition, the B Lab Colorado team helped pass public-benefit corporation legislation in Colorado and increased the adoption of B Corp principles among more than 250 local businesses that believe in creating value for all of business’ stakeholders, including people, communities and the environment.

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Certified B Corporations in Colorado are meeting the highest standards of social and environmental performance

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Companies are using the B Impact Assessment to measure and improve their social impact

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Public Benefit Corporations in Colorado

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Companies participating in the Best for Colorado campaign in 2018

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Percent of companies participating in the Best for Colorado campaign that are women and/or minority owned

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Best for Colorado program partners representing nonprofit, government and university organizations

Reflections & Lessons Learned

In 2018, the B Lab Colorado team transferred ownership of the program to the Alliance Center, which will serve as the long-term, local steward and lead partner of Best for Colorado. Through its support, the Alliance Center will provide programmatic sustainability for years to come and continue to spread Sam Gary’s belief in “doing well in business and doing good for the community.” The following are learnings from our five-year partnership with the B Lab community.

 

01Be Present, Visible & Accessible in the Community

B Lab’s local presence in Colorado has been effective at building excitement and generating momentum. By setting up a local office, it was easier for B Lab to recruit new businesses and engage stakeholders through one-on-one interactions—led by a staff with deep and relevant connections to important communities within the state.

02Tap Influencers to Reach Scale

At the start, B Lab’s recruitment efforts were one-on-one, intimate interactions with businesses of all types. But, it became clear that wholesale-style engagement was needed to bring influential, larger companies on board and create greater awareness of the movement. Successful methods for this type of outreach included hackathons and online webinars hosted by B Lab, along with workshops hosted by community experts.

03Lead and Get Out of the Way

Community building is most effective when it is grassroots. The B Lab Colorado team learned that it needed to pass ownership of the movement over to those within the Colorado B Corp community. By bringing local leaders together and encouraging them to self-organize, the Colorado B Corps community has cultivated a stronger, self-sustaining network to carry the effort forward—including the development of B Local Colorado, which includes a volunteer-led board.

04Meet Businesses Where They Are

The Best for Colorado program has proven that the “doing business better” movement has resonance with companies at all stages of their social and environmental impact journey. Impact assessment has allowed companies to identify and focus on specific areas of improvement, regardless of their assessment score. Going forward, the Alliance Center will more intentionally work with companies to go deeper on improvement practices.

05Create Opportunities for Connection and Peer Mentorship

Passionate business and community leaders will step up when invited. Certified B Corp leaders and community partners were deeply involved in inspiring, mentoring and building relationships with businesses participating in the Best for Colorado campaign. These leaders have helped existing businesses increase their impact, expand their business contacts, diversify their procurement practices, and provided inspiration and support to new companies getting started.

Story of Change

Colorado-based Danone is the world’s largest B Corp

In April 2017, Broomfield-based Danone expanded its health, sustainability and social impact by bringing together its U.S. dairy business and WhiteWave Foods to form what is now Danone North America. This subsidiary incorporated as a public-benefit corporation, meaning it is legally committed to balance shareholders’ financial interests with the social benefits it creates for people, communities and the planet, and it became a Certified B Corporation in 2018.

As a $6 billion company, Danone North America has proven that it is possible for large organizations to certify as B Corps, and it has demonstrated that B Corp Certification is not just another corporate social responsibility program. For Danone, it’s a way of transforming one of the world’s largest food and beverage companies at its core so that it’s thinking more intentionally about how it wants to do business, have more impactful brands and inspire healthier and more sustainable eating habits.

“B Corp is a way for us to be a company closer to what we, each of us, truly aspire to be as a person. This is my guiding compass in the journey, and this is why Danone North America is a B Corp,” said Emmanuel Faber, Danone’s Global CEO.

View Danone's B Impact Report

Danone North America, a $6 billion company, has proven that it is possible for large organizations to certify as a B Corp.

Colorado’s B Corp movement went from a handful of companies without much connection to each other, to a strong, recognized force for good business in our state.

– Geri Mitchell-Brown, Director of Employee Experience, Namaste Solar

B Lab’s presence has strengthened the connections, mutual support and best practice-sharing within the Colorado B Corp community. B Lab and GCI's work has created more awareness of the B Corp movement among consumers, job seekers and investors.

– Blake Jones, Co-Founder, Namaste Solar

Best For Colorado creates a community of socially and environmentally conscientious businesses that are mindful of their impact in our communities. In doing so, the program supports companies starting their journey toward a shared and durable prosperity for all.

– Anne Behlouli, Programs Manager, The Alliance Center

Colorado is a home to innovation, and our strong community of B Corps demonstrate that putting people and sustainability at the heart of the business creates thriving workplaces. For me, growing B Local Colorado is about amplifying the impact we each have through shared leadership to build an economy in service to all.

– Kimberly Kosmenko, Managing Director, Kosmenko & Co.