The Business of (Better) Business


Last week, a small group of IMG employees attended a grassroots brainstorm hosted by Hypnotic and B Lab  to discuss how businesses can do…well… better business. This low key event was meant to drive awareness and promote thoughtful discussion around how businesses can move toward mainstream adoption of the triple bottom line.  Often referred to as TBL, Triple Bottom Line evaluates a business’ overall impact by measuring the three pillars in its sphere of influence: people, planet and profits.  As one might guess, the evening’s discussion was heavy on people and planet but fell a little short on profit.  This is not to say it wasn’t beneficial. Quite the contrary. Eric Ryan: cofounder of Method

The cofounder of Method  – an environmentally (and people) friendly line of cleaning products –Eric Ryan joined us as a presenter and participant. He shared the Method story, as well as insight into their efforts to become a B Corp certified company.  Eric also mentioned that Method is currently experiencing an impressive 25% annual growth … so, indeed, profit can co-exist with the other two Ps.

The follow-up brainstorm covered a range of issues from government legislation, to executive buy-in, to tax incentives, to remapping GDP as GPI (“Genuine Progress Indicator”), to creating what was affectionately dubbed a “social benefit pyramid scheme” … the list went on.  The dialogue was stimulating – and innovation is clearly bubbling within this community.

On a personal note, I thought it was interesting that greater conversation was not given to engaging people’s influence at all levels of their respective companies. In my opinion, the power of employees to influence change may turn out to be an important factor in seeing these developments take place. Not all businesses are currently in a position to modify their articles of incorporation (which is required for B-corp certification);  however, many would likely adopt at least some of the best practices defined by B-Corp researchers and embedded in their freely-available online assessment.  By so doing, companies would certainly benefit from increased employee retention and engagement.  To me, this would be an organic win and practical stepforward – a shift toward the tipping point that many attendees would like to see.

Overall, this event achieved its goal of encouraging people to think more deeply about how business can work for good.

As an employee how important is it that your employer show a commitment to better business? Comment below or tell us on Facebook. “Notes” from the meeting. Credit to Hypenotic and ThinkLink Graphics.


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