Reflecting on our impact in 2023

Gratitude for the colleagues, community, and philanthropic partners who power this movement
By Sarah Schwimmer, Head of External Affairs and Interim Co-Lead Executive, B Lab Global
December 15, 2023

2023 has been a pivotal year for B Lab and the B Corp movement. As the world around us continues to change at a rapid pace, we have been working on our own transformation so that we can better meet the needs of the current moment and ensure that B Lab is fit for purpose to bring the power of this movement to bear and drive impact at scale. The support we receive from our philanthropic partners has been critical to our progress and our ability to meaningfully increase our impact. 

The B Corp community has continued to grow rapidly over the past year. Today, there are nearly 8,000 Certified B Corps employing over 700,000 workers in 93 countries around the world. B Corps are:

  • Paying workers fair wages so they can afford a decent standard of living (B Corps are twice as likely to pay all employees a family living wage);

  • Enabling workers to generate wealth (119,000 B Corp workers own shares in their company); 

  • Actively working to reduce the negative environmental impact of their business (8.4 million tons of waste have been saved from landfills or incineration by B Corps); and

  • Outperforming “ordinary” businesses in terms of revenue and workforce growth, as our latest Insights report demonstrates.

B Corps are demonstrating that an inclusive, equitable, and regenerative economy is possible, and they are influencing hundreds of thousands of other businesses to follow their lead in different ways. Over the past 17 years, the comprehensive and cross-cutting nature of the B Corp standard has set us apart by recognizing not just a set of products but a business’s entire way of operating and engaging with its stakeholders. B Corps have proven bold new ideas and practices that are now being adopted in the mainstream. The demand from companies seeking to join this movement continues to grow. Now, we seek to further drive the impact of this growing movement by leveraging our two greatest assets—the B Corp standards and the B Corp community—to impact even more people, communities, and the planet. And so this year, that is where we have focused: on ensuring our Standards are driving the impact we seek to see, and that our ever growing B Corp community is empowered to take action as individuals and collectively. 

To that end, we are working to further define what it means to be a best-in-class impactful business in the 21st century and the pathway to get there—not just for B Corps and prospective B Corps but also for the 280,000+ businesses who use our tools to measure, manage, and improve their impact on workers, communities, and the environment. Not all companies will become B Corps, but all companies can make impactful changes in their business practices and we want to engage with and support them as well. This year, we made significant progress in our work to evolve the B Corp performance standards, including finalizing the second draft of the standards. We are now preparing to launch our second public consultation in January 2024. 

With support from our philanthropic partners, we have also begun a major multi-year effort to redesign our impact management tools and platform. Our new B Impact platform will enable businesses and networked organizations to seamlessly measure, manage, and improve their impact against the B Corp standards and the Sustainable Development Goals, and better understand, analyze, and benchmark their performance. In the coming years, this platform will power the entire B Corp movement, driving impact at the individual company level and collectively by having the capability to connect companies to collaborate and take collective action. We are working toward a phased launch beginning in 2024. 

Changing the economic system is a long term effort that requires more than just changing the behavior of businesses. This year, we have continued to build our research capacity to generate evidence for systems change at scale, to advance public policies to center workers and other stakeholders in business decision-making, and mobilize the B Corp community toward collective action. We continue to work closely with our global network to coordinate our efforts around the world so that we can learn with and from one another faster, and leverage momentum in faster-growing or more developed regions to catalyze or reinvigorate action in others. We have also forged new partnerships to expand our impact. This year, we established new partnerships with Nasdaq, Fairtrade International, We Mean Business Coalition, and the Centre for Impact Investing and Practices. In many ways, our movement-building work is just getting started. 

As this year comes to a close, I’m reflecting on 2023 with an immense sense of gratitude—for our colleagues who are boldly leading our work around the world, for our community of business leaders who are showing the world what good business looks like, and for our philanthropic partners who are working alongside us and powering this movement. 

Philanthropic support helped build proof of concept for the B Corp Movement; today, we use philanthropy to identify and build products and our Standards ahead of the market. Philanthropy enables us to keep social impact at the center of what we do, and to build the tools needed to scale this impact—even before the market is ready to pay. It is a remarkable opportunity for us to use our resources to catalyze impact in the business world, and I’m grateful to partner with our supporters on this innovative way of working. I’m going into 2024 with renewed energy and genuine excitement to continue our work together toward an inclusive, equitable, and regenerative economy that benefits all people and the planet. 

Thank you so much for your support. 

With gratitude,  Sarah Schwimmer, Head of Strategic Growth, B Lab Global

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