Unilever, Multinationals, and the B Corp Movement
A growing number of multinational companies are interested in engaging with the B Corp movement. This is good news, because we need an inclusive movement in which everyone from family farms to the Fortune 500 uses business as a force for good. However, a number of systemic, institutional and practical barriers have made it hard for multinational private and publicly listed companies to earn B Corp Certification and for B Lab to meaningfully assess and verify their performance. Both B Lab and these companies are committed to creating standards and a certification process that is both meaningful and manageable.
To achieve this, at the recent launch of B Lab UK, B Lab announced that it is establishing a Multinationals and Public Markets (MPM) Advisory Council. The MPM Advisory Council will have two core work streams over the next 24 months, to reflect the two areas of challenge: (1) a Mission Alignment Working Group and (2) a Performance Standards Working Group, the former to address the challenges of meeting the legal requirement and the latter of meeting the performance requirement for certification.
The MPM Advisory Council will be comprised of people with experience working in and with large complex businesses on issues of sustainability and impact, as well people with experience in the public capital markets, including practitioners, consultants, investors, attorneys, intermediaries, regulators, shareholder groups, and exchanges.
The Working Groups will help B Lab remove impediments to adopting mission-aligned corporate structures that expand fiduciary duty to include the consideration of societal -- not just shareholder -- interests, and examine both the performance standards and a verification process appropriate to the size and scope of multinational and public companies.
In a message delivered at the launch of B Lab UK, Paul Polman, Unilever CEO, announced that Unilever will participate in the MPM Advisory Council and invites other to join them to achieve our collective vision of a global economy where all business works to create a more shared and durable prosperity for all.
When the membership of the MPM Advisory Council is finalized in early 2016 it will be made public on bcorporation.net along with B Lab's other Standards Working Groups. Any questions or suggestions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.