Why Becoming a B Corp Increases Resilience and Innovation

Ryan Honeyman
4 min readNov 8, 2023

In the current economic climate, businesses face an unprecedented array of challenges and opportunities. From climate change and social inequities to the rapid pace of technological innovation, companies that can adapt and evolve are those that will thrive. As a partner at LIFT Economy and coauthor of The B Corp Handbook, I’ve seen firsthand how becoming a B Corp can serve as a catalyst for resilience and innovation in businesses striving to be as much about purpose as they are profit.

Understanding Certified B Corporations

Certified B Corporations are leaders of a global movement of people using business as a force for good. B Corp certification is to sustainable business what Fair Trade certification is to coffee or USDA Organic certification is to milk. B Corps meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.

Building Resilience through Purpose

B Corps are purpose-driven by nature. This drives resilience in various ways:

  • Employee Engagement: Studies show that B Corp certification can help attract and retain talent. This is crucial for resilience, as such employees are more likely to innovate and to stay with their company during challenging times.
  • Deepening Stakeholder Relationships: B Corps cultivate strong relationships with all stakeholders, from suppliers to local communities. In times of crisis, these relationships can be vital assets, enabling quick collaboration and mutual support.
  • Governance for the Long Term: B Corps are required to embed their values into their corporate governance, which encourages a long-term view that can steer companies through market fluctuations with an eye on sustainable growth.

Innovation as a Byproduct of Sustainability

Innovation is not just about the next technological breakthrough; it’s about novel ways of thinking and doing business. B Corps are natural incubators of innovation for several reasons:

  • Leveraging Collective Knowledge: The B Corp community actively shares insights and best practices, spurring innovation among peers. This culture of knowledge exchange keeps companies on the cutting edge.
  • Educating for Impact: B Corps often serve as role models and educators, demonstrating that sustainable business practices are not only possible but profitable. This inspires a wave of innovation as new and established companies adopt and adapt these practices.
  • Building Innovation Through Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: The commitment to DEI among B Corps brings various perspectives to the table, fueling creativity and leading to services and products that resonate with a broader audience.

At LIFT Economy, we advise companies on how to leverage B Corp certification to innovate in areas such as vision alignment; employee engagement and belonging; diversity, equity, and inclusion; supply chain management; product development; community engagement; and more. For example, a B Corp might use cradle-to-cradle design principles to create a new product, reducing waste and opening up new market opportunities. Or they might develop a unique partnership with a nonprofit organization that provides job training to historically marginalized communities, thus expanding their labor pool and building goodwill in the community.

The Competitive Edge of Transparency

Transparency is a trademark of the B Corp certification. Companies that openly communicate their processes and challenges build trust with consumers and can engage their stakeholders more effectively in problem-solving.

Access to Capital

Achieving B Corp certification shows your company is committed to broader goals around social and environmental performance. This commitment can attract impact investors and funds dedicated to responsible business practices, providing access to capital that may not be available to traditional companies.

Innovation as a Byproduct of Sustainability

Innovation isn’t just about the next technological breakthrough; it’s also about new ways of doing business that are sustainable and equitable. B Corps are at the forefront of this, not only because they are required to consider the impact of their decisions on all stakeholders, but also because they are part of a community that shares best practices and encourages continuous improvement.

Conclusion

The business case for becoming a Certified B Corporation goes beyond the feel-good aspect of doing the right thing. It is a robust strategy for building a resilient, innovative, and future-proof company. At LIFT Economy, we believe that the B Corp certification provides a framework that helps companies not just to navigate but to lead in the Next Economy.

As your business looks to build lasting value, you will find that a commitment to higher standards of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability isn’t just about ethics — it’s about creating a competitive advantage in a world where the rules of the game are changing. Becoming a Certified B Corporation is a strategic move that prepares companies to face the future with confidence and creativity.

For those ready to embark on this transformative journey, the path of the B Corp can be a blueprint for a resilient and innovative business capable of meeting the demands of our times and contributing to a more inclusive and sustainable economy for all.

Interested in learning more? The LIFT Economy team has helped over 85 companies — like Patagonia, Ben & Jerry’s, Allbirds, Animiki, EBPREC, and more — become Certified B Corporations, recertify as B Corporations, and maximize the value of their B Corp status. Please reach out to me at ryan@lifteconomy.com to learn about B Corp certification and whether your company might be a good fit.

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Ryan Honeyman

Partner at LIFT Economy. B Corp Nerd. Coauthor of “The B Corp Handbook” and "The Next Economy MBA." Co-host of "Beyond the B" and "Next Economy Now" podcasts.