Better Business: what does it mean to you?
We believe that business can be a force for good. Therefore making a positive impact with our strategy projects is a top priority to us. To formalise and reinforce our commitment to do good we decided to join the B Corp community last year. It is a commitment that forces us to think more holistically about everything we do: it guides every decision we make.
The most important goal of the B Corp movement is to transform our economic system for the better. The official B Corp month starts today and this year’s theme is Better Business. It encompasses all of the different ways that, as businesses, are striving to do better. B-corps are all examples of better businesses who are on a journey of constant improvement to ensure that you continuously exceed the expectations, demands and needs of society and the planet.
However, we would like to take this opportunity to talk about what being a Better Business looks like. What do you call a better business and why? Read more to explore what Martijn, Brenda and Tim think about what Better Business. A better way of doing business is not only possible, it’s happening already, all around the world!
Martijn Pater (founder Fronteer):
“A better business is one with a clear and higher purpose in mind. It combines business savviness with an aim to do good for all stakeholders involved. Those are not the easy businesses, they do not use cheap resources or try to avoid regulations. They discuss daily what progress means and put their work to the test. Saying no is an option. Experimentation is a must. A better business sets a new standard and meets the old ones half way. There are three stages of innovation for a better business. Stage 1: it can’t be done. Stage 2: it is not allowed. Stage 3: why did we not do this earlier?“
Brenda (office & project manager):
“I come from an environment where I have never heard the term Better Businesses. At the same time, I also come from an environment where I believe that the people living in that environment could benefit the most from Better Businesses. What do I think Better Business is? A place where everyone, regardless of background, origin or gender gets the same kind of opportunities. Let’s face it, where you were born contributes heavily to where you end up and that is unfortunate in some cases, because for a large number of people that means that they can never have a good start in life.“
“My better business looks at potential versus opportunity, it looks at what someone can do versus where did someone come from. I think that an actual better business really moves like that, the mission is to create advantages in areas and on subjects where it matters. Something that Fronteer would love to be a part of… speaking from personal experience.“
“In my second year of business school, just about 10 years ago, I followed the course ‘Business Society Management’. It was the year of the disappointing Copenhagen Climate Summit, we saw sustainability as something ‘nice to have in the future’, and this course was widely known at university as ‘the treehugger course’ (also because our professor took us to the park one day to do exactly that).“
“Fortunately, a lot has changed in our thinking about ‘better business’. For me, it means going back to why we do business in the first place. Bringing people together to solve problems that make us live healthier and happier lives. And in doing so, we need to adopt a holistic and long-term view of ourselves in the bigger system. It is not about making generous profits and spending parts of it on philanthropy (as important as some projects are). Instead, we should look for balance and fairness in every part of our value chains. Not seeing the negative effects of our business as ‘externalities’, but as an integral part of our responsibilities.“
The No-buy challenge
To kickstart the B Corp month we challenged our team to do good and buy no new and secondhand clothing for one month. One month dedicated to cutting out extraneous purchases and – hopefully – to reset your spending habits. Sustainability shouldn’t just be about making cleaner production, it must be about reducing consumption as well. Did you know that it takes 2.700 litres of water to produce one cotton T-shirt? That is enough water for one person to drink for 2,5 years! Read here our connector Britt her thoughts on why we need to restore the personal and emotional attachment with our clothing in order to create a long-lasting wardrobe.
Are you joining us this month with The No Buy Challenge?
Happy B Corp month! It’s not just about what we do; why and how we do it are just as important. Interested to become B Corp certified yourself? Talk to us!