Image for Popping up all over the place: how B Corp promises a new kind of business

Popping up all over the place: how B Corp promises a new kind of business

More than 2,700 global companies are certified B Corporations: businesses that balance purpose and profit

More than 2,700 global companies are certified B Corporations: businesses that balance purpose and profit

Grace Chau emerges from a sea of popcorn in this photo from snacks business Propercorn. The company may have the resources for slick marketing shots now, but there was a time when founders Cassandra Stavrou and Ryan Kohn were yet to hit upon the recipe for success.

Launching in 2011, the pair spent many hours cold calling, packing boxes from Kohn’s flat and tossing corn kernels in a refashioned cement mixer. Now, Propercorn is available in 10 countries – and the cement mixer has been upgraded.

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A few years ago, they stumbled across the B Corp movement, and were intrigued. Certified B Corporations are businesses that balance purpose and profit. They are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community and on the environment.

“We were immediately taken by their ambitious and admirable vision,” said Stavrou. “That one day all companies will compete not only to be the best in the world but to be the best for the world. It’s lofty, but who wouldn’t strive for this?”

Certified B Corps are businesses that are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community and the environment

In 2018, Propercorn became a B Corp, joining 2,700 others globally. They are companies from more than 150 industries, from sole traders to multinationals. Some of the B Corp brands you may recognise include Patagonia, Innocent, Triodos Bank, Pukka and Abundance. February was global B Corp month, with people challenged to ‘live your day the B Corp way’ – to go 24 hours using only B Corp products.

Can business really play a role in tackling society’s most challenging problems? Most obstacles cannot be solved by governments and nonprofits alone, goes the theory in the B Corp community. They believe that by harnessing the power of business, it is possible to use profits and growth as a means to a greater end.

Image: Propercorn

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