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Three Guides for Going B—And Why It Matters

Patagonia  /  2 Min Read  /  Activism

Illustration: Geoff McFetridge

Our company is proud to be part of the growing movement of Certified B Corporations. These companies practice “stakeholder capitalism”: They identify their most deeply held social and environmental values, then abide by them, honoring their responsibilities to their employees, customers, suppliers and communities—as well as to the financial health of their investors.

In the six years since Patagonia became a B Corp we have seen the movement broaden across nations and industries and deepen in purpose. We have seen a new generation of entrepreneurs eager to go B at the outset, so that they communicate their significant values to investors, employees, customers, suppliers and communities right from the beginning. This also turns out to be a smart financial move, according to major consultancies, who find that B Corp startups have a higher survival rate than new businesses as a whole.

In our time of sustained environmental and social crisis, no business can afford to ignore the effects of its products and operations—so the business world has been advised by figures as diverse as the pope and Larry Fink, the CEO of BlackRock. We are past the time when any business can legitimately ask its employees to leave their values and humanity at home. And no business can any longer afford to year after year pursue minor incremental efficiencies while foregoing opportunities to help reweave the social fabric and regenerate rather than deplete the health of the natural world.

These three guides, sponsored by Patagonia in partnership with, variously, the Yale Center for Business and the Environment, the Yale Environmental Law Association, Vermont Law School and Caprock, are part manifesto for the B movement and part users’ guides for three separate constituencies: entrepreneurs deciding whether and when to go B; impact investors seeking a new specialty; and legislators in states and nations that have yet to pass a benefit corporation law.

Each guide also makes good general reading for friends of Patagonia who want to understand the universe of companies that now operate by their values as well as their nose for good business.

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