Guelph has become a hotbed for companies that are striving for a new kind of business success – one that includes having a positive social and environmental impact in addition to making a profit.
Increasingly, these companies are choosing to measure and formalize their sustainability initiatives through B Corp certification, which attests that they meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency.
The B Corp movement began more than a decade ago. Today there are more than 1,600 Certified B Corps in 42 countries and over 120 industries around the world. Canada is home to approximately 150, including a groundswell of B Corp enterprises in southwestern Ontario.
The B Corp community has found “incredible traction” in Guelph, says Erin Doherty, an Innovation Guelph mentor and business impact strategist.
“Companies are sharing knowledge and best practices, holding events and discussing issues, and exploring how they can do more. They’re really excited because they’re starting to see the tangible benefits of the good they’re doing.”
Those tangible benefits include increased employee retention, engagement and productivity; cost savings through eco-efficiencies; improved business models; increased customer satisfaction, as well as other positive economic, environmental and social impacts here at home and around the world.
Companies interested in developing more sustainable business practices can draw inspiration from local B Corps like GROSCHE International, The Neighbourhood Group of Companies, Lucky Iron Fish, Cupanion and others who will be sharing their experiences at Innovation Guelph’s second annual Sustainability Social Nov. 15. The event also features Craig Ryan, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility at BDC, and other corporate leaders and sustainability experts.
Earlier that day, Doherty will speak on the topic at Innovation Guelph’s Toolkit Tuesday lunchtime networking session.
Innovation Guelph was one of the first organizations in the world to offer B Corp education and business impact measurement, so business owners can understand the environmental and social impacts of their business, Doherty says.
She developed Innovation Guelph’s B Corp Bootcamp program to help companies navigate the certification process, and also provides one-to-one mentorship to help companies establish sustainable business practices. One of Doherty’s go-to resources is a B Lab impact assessment tool that provides “a holistic view” of a company’s impact beyond standard key performance indicators.
On Nov. 30, a special Fast Track B Corp Bootcamp workshop, led by Doherty, Ryan and Joyce Sou, Director of B Lab Canada, will provide companies with hands-on support for the assessment process, continuing to build local momentum.
Learn more and register at GoodBizGuelph.ca.
Local B Corp companies
The Neighbourhood Group of Companies (the largest B Corp-certified restaurant company in the world), GROSCHE International, Lucky Iron Fish, Shared Value Solutions, Sweet Temptations, Flow Office Wisdom, Grey Rock Clothing Company, Blue Ocean Office Supplies and Solutions, Cupanion, Enviro-Stewards Inc., Anwaatin Inc.