Businesses that look beyond the bottom line to make a lasting impact are gaining in popularity nationwide. Certified “B Corporations,” as many are known, use the power of business to solve challenging social and environmental problems.
And the movement is growing in Georgia.
Social Enterprise @ Goizueta, Better World Books and Stites & Harbison, PLLC are partnering to bring the nonprofit, legal, political, business, investor and academic communities together to discuss the promise of the B Corporation in Georgia.
The organizations will host a forum Feb. 7-8 at various locations in Atlanta highlighted by a keynote address from Jay Coen Gilbert, co-founder of B Lab, at 5 p.m. Feb. 8 in the Goizueta Business School Auditorium. Gilbert also co-founded AND 1, a $250 million footwear and apparel company based outside Philadelphia, and has also worked for McKinsey & Co. and others in the profit and nonprofit space. Media and the community are invited to attend.
Unlike traditional businesses, B Corporations must meet various social and environmental performance standards and attain higher levels of legal accountability. They also must work to build a constituency for public policies that support sustainable business. B Lab, a nonprofit organization, certifies B Corporations similar to certifications by TransFair (Fair Trade coffee) or USGBC (LEED buildings). According to http://www.bcorporation.net, there are more than 500 certified B Corporations across 60 industries in the United States. Certified B Corporations in Georgia include Better World Books, Freeworld Media, Gray Ghost Ventures, if People, Solution Force and Womenetics. Certified B Corporations enjoy certain benefits thanks to a focus on a social impact. The move also makes a statement about a company’s mission beyond the traditional bottom line.
“It seems evident that the B Corp movement is poised to become an important business innovation in the United States, one that will help support communities in addressing many social and environmental challenges,” said Dr. Peter Roberts, Associate Professor of Organization and Management and head of Goizueta’s social enterprise initiative. “Currently more than 500 young companies have committed to operating with an explicit emphasis on all three bottom lines: financial, social and environmental. We are excited to help expose the Emory and Atlanta communities to the promise and mechanics of the B Corporation, and to help spur its advance in Georgia and the southeastern United States.”
For more information on B Corporations, visit http://www.bcorporation.net/
About Social Enterprise at Goizueta
Social Enterprise @ Goizueta focuses on integrating business principles and market-based solutions in order to achieve meaningful societal impacts. Students learn how business acumen can be applied to address a wide range of challenges. Through teaching, research and outreach activities, students and faculty gain experiences that deepen understanding of organizations striving to solve the world’s biggest problems while improving performance.
About Stites & Harbison, PLLC
Stites & Harbison, PLLC is a preeminent law firm based in strategic Southeastern locations and sought by business and institutional clients nationwide for sophisticated transactions, difficult litigation and complex regulatory matters. Tracing its origins to 1832, Stites & Harbison is one of the oldest law practices in the nation and among the largest law firms in the region. The Private Company Services Team of Stites & Harbison is a group of specialized lawyers in Atlanta serving clients throughout the Southeast U.S. We advise private companies and investors in connection with mergers and acquisitions, private equity/debt transactions, tax credit financing, and social venture capitalization. Our Tax-Exempt Practices Group acts as outside general counsel to many private foundations, trade organizations, religious institutions, private schools and public charities across the United States and internationally.
About Better World Books
Better World Books is a for-profit social enterprise that collects and sells books online matching each purchase with a donation, book for book, and with each sale generating funds for literacy initiatives. With more than 8 million new and used titles in stock, Better World Books is a self-sustaining company that balances the social, economic and environmental values of its stakeholders. Better World Books diverts books from landfills by conducting book drives on thousands of college campuses and libraries. Since its founding in 2003, the Mishawaka, Ind.-based company has raised more than $10 million for libraries and literacy, donated more 5 million books; re-used or recycled over 57 million books and achieved 29,000 tons of carbon offsets through carbon balanced shipping.