What is the issue?
Social and environmental impact is becoming increasingly important across the UK economy. According to surveys 1 in 3 British consumers will pay more for products with a positive social and environmental outcome and 20% of start-ups intend to use business as a tool to solve a social and/or environmental problem. The numbers of investors seeking social value alongside financial return are also increasing and the UK’s social investment market is expected to reach £1bn by 2016.
At the same time there are 3 million corporations in UK, of which 300,000 are registered with asset locks. The remaining 2.7 million are currently not easily distinguishable from each other as there is no certification that identifies to investors, potential employees, suppliers, customers and other impact motivated organisations and individuals, those companies whose commitment and social performance creates positive social and environmental impact.
As such our economic system, and its associated laws, institutions, standards and regulation, are not able to recognise new forms of business that blend profit and purpose. This is preventing the transformation of our economy into one that has long-term value creation at its heart.
What will the project try to achieve?
This project will support B Lab UK, the organisation that has been set up to support the development of the UK community of businesses that are certified B Corporations. A B Corporation is a new type of company that is certified to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency by an internationally respected, robust and recognised third party.
The short term objective of B Lab UK is to launch the UK B Corporation community in September with at least 50 certified UK B Corporations.
In the longer term, B Lab UK will work to:
- Develop a strong UK B Corp community over the long term, so that it becomes a leader in the global movement;
- Establish B Lab UK into a financially sustainable membership organisation in five to six years.
- Leverage the unique history of Britain in shaping the global economy, and the role of London as the world’s leading financial centre by partnering with capital markets, policy makers, media etc
This project will specifically support B Lab UK in its activities of business engagement, certification support, awareness building and thought leadership.
Who might be interested in this project?
Entrepreneurs, business people, systems-change advocates, sustainability specialists, investors, policymakers, impact measurement specialists, lawyers, accountants, consumers and academics.