B the Change Weekly: August 30, 2019
Delivered on Fridays, B the Change Weekly delivers the most important and most relevant stories about people using business as a force for good. The newsletter features a weekly note from the B the Change team alongside insight and context on the stories we share here on Medium. Below is our latest roundup. To receive these insights directly in your inbox, sign up for B the Change Weekly today. Now on to the good stuff:
Shareholder primacy has been the business status quo for decades, but it wasn’t always the case. As James Perry, co-chair of B Lab UK, notes this week on B the Change:
“Initially, society required that corporation charters had to state a public purpose, in recognition of the profound power created when capital is organized. But by the 1980s this profit-maximizing ideology of Milton Friedman’s Chicago School had successfully co-opted global capitalism.”
More businesses and consumers are returning to that social contract by acting with purpose to benefit all stakeholders. This week, we share how Certified B Corporations and legal benefit corporations are showing the Business Roundtable and others how to change the system.
Let’s Get to Work
In a show of the power of community, 33 B Corp CEOs are calling for the leaders of the Business Roundtable to put their words into action by adopting benefit corporation governance structures. As business moves toward a more purpose-driven future, it’s a message that all in the B Corp community and B Economy can get behind and spread.
Looking Back to Find the Way Forward
While the purpose of business is a hot discussion topic, it’s also sparking a look back at how the profit-primacy system came to be. Over the last 50 years, the idea that business is a legal entity with an exclusive purpose to generate profits for shareholders has become an intellectual monopoly in business and finance.
Now, James Perry writes on B the Change, it’s time to install a new operating system for business that replaces profit maximizing with creating value for everyone and protecting the social and environmental systems in which business is embedded.
Recognize ‘It Doesn’t Work’
Is the system of shareholder supremacy here to stay? In an article from B Corp Conscious Company Media, author Aaron Dignan says company leaders and workers can create a new way of doing business by determining what shareholders want and what success looks like. “The other way is just to recognize that it doesn’t work,” he says. “Even from a purely greed-based standpoint, shareholder supremacy is a strategy that kills businesses over time.”
Stay in the Know
Here’s your chance to catch up on all the good stuff we shared this week:
- Dear Business Roundtable CEOs: Let’s Get to Work: A Call to Put Words into Action from B Corp Leaders
- How to Create Global Impact Through Your Company’s Everyday Operations: Canadian B Corp SureCall Extends Reach Through Social Enterprise Projects
- Why Business Needs to ‘Democratize Organic’ If We’re to Achieve a More Inclusive and Regenerative Economy: B Corp Happy Family Organics Offers Programs to Increase Access to Organic Food and Nutrition Education
- How Corporate Citizenship Creates Positive Outcomes: B Corp Success Rehabilitation Sees Worker and Client Benefits Thanks to Social Impact Strategies
- Put Your Money Where Your Values Are: Impact Investing, Systems Thinking and, Yes, Ethics Can Lead the Way As We Seek to Solve Global Problems
- To Rediscover the Purpose of Business, Look to Its Origins: A View for the Future: Emerging Economic Leaders Expand Goals to Include People and Planet
- Building a ‘Better’ (Plastic-Free, Waste-Free and Toxic-Free) Business: Kate Jakubas Shares Her Honest and Eco-Friendly Approach to Creating Household Cleaning Products
- How Being Human on the Job Can Lead to Business Transformation: Author Aaron Dignan Shares Path to Change in ‘Brave New Work’
- Transforming Capitalism for the 21st Century: It’s Time to Upend Shareholder Primacy
B the Change gathers and shares the voices from within the movement of people using business as a force for good and the community of Certified B Corporations. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the nonprofit B Lab.
You Did It: B Corp Community Holds Business Roundtable Accountable was originally published in B the Change on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.