The Future Of Business

 Photo credit: Huffington Post

Once a year the certified B Corp community gathers to build collective voice in the movement to use business as a force for good. It's a time of celebration and critical reflection on the state of the world and our leadership role in it. Called the Champions Retreat, there is a subset of certified Bs among the Champions that are considered leading edge. The Restorative Leadership Institute has been awarded a Best For The World Overall company this year, the equivalent of the decathlon gold, which means that RLI scored in the top 10 percent of all Certified B Corporations on the B Impact Assessment across a majority of the assessment’s categories based on company size. While not made of gold, the FSC certified “from responsible sources” wood medal feels priceless to hold because of the honor it represents.

Yola Carlough, former head of Social Mission at Ben and Jerry’s and director of sustainability at Burt’s Bees, likens the spirit of collaboration in the benefit corporation movement to the spirit of collaboration in the Olympics. We learn and serve and work and strive together for something that matters deeply, not just for our own communities but for the global community. The B Corp community knows that the 21st century is calling us to greatness, and nothing less will do. Each fall, the Champions Retreat emboldens that spirit of inspired collaboration and invigorated competition as the standards are heightened and the stakes are raised.

To be a certified B Corp is to embody restorative leadership, and it starts with signing the B Corp Declaration Of Interdependence that envisions a global economy where business is a force for good. We believe:

  • That we must be the change we seek in the world
  • That all business ought to be conducted as if people and place mattered.
  • That, through their products, practices, and profits, businesses should aspire to do no harm and benefit all.
  • To do so requires that we act with the understanding that we are each dependent upon another and thus responsible for each other and future generations.

Yes, the world is an interdependent whole, and business is powerfully positioned in the nested interdependencies to leverage that interconnection for cascading benefit. We know that each action and inaction impacts the web of life, and that we have an ethical responsibility to choose for the highest benefit to all with the long view in mind and heart.

To be best for the world asks and demands highly intentional engagement with each and action and inaction of business leadership. For example, the B Corp community chose the inaction of noncooperation and withdrew plans for the Champions Retreat to be in North Carolina when HB2 was passed, which then followed with a call to action to set concrete and measurable goals for inclusion as a global business community. As Jay Gilbert, co-founder of the social enterprise B Lab said:

We cannot achieve our vision of a shared and durable prosperity without an inclusive economy…. and it is our judgment that we cannot be, individually or collectively, credible leaders without taking meaningful action on inclusion given all the things that are happening around the world that are pulling us apart.

Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop and matriarch of the concept of responsible business, asserted that business is the most powerful institution on the planet. By building on those leadership strengths and innovating beyond harmful norms, all business can and must take its rightful place as a force for good in the world. This is the true meaning of going for the gold. RLI is proud to have founded as a certified B Corp in 2010 and to be part of the community leading the future of business:

“Instead of minimizing harm, they seek to maximize the positive impact of their businesses. Instead of limiting negative externalities, they actively and purposefully seek a regenerative economy by operating their businesses in more thoughtful and rigorous ways.”

To learn more about how Jay Gilbert and the B Lab leadership team, the social enterprise behind the benefit corporation movement, engage restorative leadership for global impact, go to On Leading for podcast and interview content.