What’s Trending—Using Your Business as a Force for Good

This blog post is co-bylined by Sheila Herrling, SVP, Social Innovation at the Case Foundation and Hardik Savalia, Senior Associate, Standards, at B Lab—a nonprofit organization dedicated to using the power of business to solve social and environmental problems.

It’s undeniable; entrepreneurship is experiencing a culture shift. Everyday we hear more stories about the power of business to be a force for good. It’s no longer enough for an enterprise to earn a good profit. There’s a growing expectation that it will contribute to society and to a sustainable future. In his State of the Union Address, even President Obama articulated the need for businesses to get serious about improving their social and environmental impact. He stressed how businesses can do right by their workers, customers and communities, in addition to generating great profits.

Heeding the Call–Corporations committed to positive impact

Urgent social needs—access to energy, education, healthcare, clean water—don’t show signs of decline, making it clear that philanthropic and government resources alone won’t be sufficient to address them all. Communities around the world will need committed entrepreneurs and investors to help drive the next wave of great social change and environmental conservation.

Luckily, more than 1,600 companies including Patagonia and Warby Parker have taken the lead in this growing movement, by completing an extensive certification process to become B Corps. Yet, we believe that if we’re going to make real progress on social and environmental issues, we have to empower all companies, no matter the industry, location or size, with the tools to benchmark, measure and compare their positive impact on workers, communities and the environment. After all, how can any business start to improve their impact, without first knowing where they stand?

Through our partnership, we at B Lab and the Case Foundation have created the B Impact Assessment to do just this, and it’s already being used by more than 40,000 businesses in 80 countries. We’ve also recently released an enhanced, more user-friendly version of the Assessment to make it easier for any team member—ranging from CEO, to intern, to manager—to start this exercise confidentially for their business.

Ready to see it for yourself? Check out the new assessment!

B Impact Assessment SH

The Assessment takes users on a step-by-step journey through a variety of best practices that have already been adopted by leading companies. For example, what percent of the company’s workers receive a living wage? The tool provides examples from companies like Ben & Jerry’s on how they’ve successfully implemented a living wage program for all of their employees.

We believe there’s no single way to build a better business and the initial baseline assessment is the first step on a pathway to improvement. After completing the first, quick assessment, which on average takes about 30 minutes, we encourage companies to come back and use the built-in tools to set goals, create an action plan and start implementing those best practices to realize better social outcomes.

B Impact Report

Join the Movement–Use your business to drive social change.

The B Corps community and the Case Foundation, together are proud that more than 1,600 companies have fully committed to do their part as certified B Crops—redefining success for business—and that another 40,000 companies have shown an interest in doing better. We’re excited to invite all businesses to join this movement, and measure your ability to build stronger communities, create environmentally sustainable operations or cultivate empowering employment opportunities. We invite you to use business as a force for good.

Join our upcoming webinar, Increasing Your Impact & Improving Your Score on the B Impact Assessment, to learn more about how business can measure and improve their impact.

Better Businesses Make Better Mothers’ Day Gifts

Here at the Case Foundation, we believe that where we shop matters, and we’re convinced that better businesses make better gifts. In an effort to help you wrap up your Mother’s Day shopping, we put together a collection of gift ideas from some of our favorite “better” businesses—companies driven to have positive social and environmental impact.

These gift ideas, curated with the help of our partners at B Lab, will fit nicely on your shopping list, while you support conscious businesses that create meaningful jobs, protect the environment and create a better world.

Happy Mother’s Day to all moms, grandmas, moms-to-be and caregivers!

Greyston BakeryGreyston Bakery has open hiring practices to provide employment and professional development opportunities to everyone in the community.
Mom will get the satisfaction of aiding in its efforts, as well as enjoying some of their delicious baked goods.

The Honest Company – This B Corp believes that Mother’s Day is all about spoiling mom. Treat her to something indulgent from Honest Company’s pampering collection so she can enjoy a spa-like escape at home.

Dogeared – This California-based jewelry company lives by the philosophy that “what goes around comes around.” It puts this belief into practice by handcrafting pieces locally, respecting the planet and partnering with nonprofit organizations that share its vision for a better world.

A to Z Wineworks – Your wine-loving mother is sure to jump with joy when she receives a bottle from A to Z Wineworks. Its award-winning Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris are excellent not only in taste but also in their fair value and sustainability practices.

Prosperity Candle – Give Mom a hand-poured candle that smells good and does good! Each gift provides living wages to women artisans who are thriving as entrepreneurs.

Better World Books – The gift of a good book is something that never goes out of style. Give mom a novel from Better World Books, and someone in need will receive one as well.

Etsy – Are you still stumped about what to get Mom? Shop this community-based site that believes in making the world more fair, more sustainable and more fun. There are more than 1 million active shops – making it easy to find the perfect gift!

Have an idea of your own? Please share it with us on Twitter by tweeting at @CaseFoundation with the hashtag #CFBlog!

When a B Corp Goes Public, Can Social Outcomes Keep Pace with Profits?

Etsy is the online marketplace where independent artisans and consumers come together to buy and sell unique goods, and connect over shared tastes and visual inspiration. This B Corporation promotes both the virtues of individuality and positive social outcomes and is the focus of this week’s spotlight on Social Enterprise from the Case Foundation and Entrepreneur.com, in partnership with ImpactAlpha.

What’s so special about this company? Founded in Brooklyn, NY, in 2005, Etsy is an online network that connects entrpreneurs with customers whom they otherwise would not be able to access. As noted on its website:

“The heart and soul of Etsy is [their] global community: the creative entrepreneurs who use Etsy to sell what they make or curate, the shoppers looking for things they can’t find anywhere else, the manufacturers who partner with Etsy sellers to help them grow and the Etsy employees who maintain and nurture our marketplace.”

Over the last 10 years, Etsy has grown to become a global force with nearly 700 employees and nearly 30 million items currently available to purchase. It has a network of,19.8 million active buyers—representing nearly every country in the world, and 1.4 million active sellers, of which approximately 88 percent are women. All of these figures add up to a company that earned nearly $200 million in revenue in 2014. Although Etsy has yet to become profitable, the company has not stopped from pushing itself to achieve greater growth. In fact, on March 4, 2015, Etsy became the second B Corp to file for an initial public offering (IPO).

Through its IPO, Etsy will be able to raise up to $100 million in investments, creating an opportunity through which they will hopefully establish profitability. Of the more than 1,200 B Corps, they will be only the fourth with publicly traded stock and only the second to file as a current B Corp.

In considering all of the implications of Etsy’s IPO announcement and similar moves from social enterprises, one question has surfaced: “Will these corporate evolutions undermine companies’ social benefit objectives and vice versa, will commitments to better social outcomes undermine current shareholder profits?”

Hopefully companies like Etsy are the beginning of a larger trend that will continue to expand. As consumer interests align with social and environmental concerns, and large corporations are rewarded for committing to improving their impact while turning competitive profits for shareholders, we could see a greater number of large corporations join the B Corp movement. Similarly, it is exciting to see more B Corps like Etsy, Rally Software and Warby Parker experience the kind of growth that allows them to mature and seek greater profits and influence.

In this week’s article on Entrepreneur.com, we explore the potentially conflicting priorities that face impact companies like Etsy. What does it mean for a social enterprise to have the dual pressures of competing to attract investors through profit seeking and maintaining their social commitments? Will they prove that their social good mission doesn’t detract from profit but can actually boost revenues by driving marketing and customer loyalty?