B-Certified and Be the Change
Jorge Fontanez, Chief Executive Officer of B Lab USA & Canada, discusses the tremendous progress and impact occurring through the growing global community of B-Certified businesses. B Lab administers one of the most robust and comprehensive assessment frameworks for mission-driven businesses that conduct themselves with their environmental, social, and governance impacts at the fore of their decision making. Assessed in a framework that includes impacts across five stakeholder groups (employees, customers, shareholders, suppliers, and planet Earth), over 7,000 companies world-wide are currently B-Certified, and many more companies are in the process of B Lab’s self-assessment and/or working toward certification. Over 250,000 companies have taken B Lab’s B-Impact Assessment self-assessment survey (https://www.bcorporation.net/en-us/programs-and-tools/b-impact-assessment/).
In this special community of business leaders, B Lab works to help change organizational cultures which then facilitates systemic change. As Jorge tells us, “Our planet will not survive business models that are extractive and exploitative,” and emphasizes that those companies deepening their strategic commitments to environmental and social performance tend also to enhance their competitive advantage in the marketplace – especially as growing numbers of consumers recognize and select products based on the B-Certification credentials displayed on their packaging. And there are myriad service-providing B-Certified companies. From law firms to accounting firms to marketing agencies, the B-Lab ecosystem of businesses spans the gamut of industry and business sectors, and have self organized into 30 local/regional chapters and 30+ industry/identity-based networks.
In this special podcast episode, Jorge discusses several companies in the B-Certified ecosystem (Ben & Jerry’s, The Body Shop, Greyston Bakery, Unilever, and Danone (over 70% of its subsidiaries are certified). He also speaks about the push back against the ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance performance measurement and disclosures) movement, and dispels some of the false narratives circulating in certain circles. Recognizing that over 50% of adults in the US and over 61% over Gen Z in particular recognize the B-Certified logo on product packaging, Jorge and the B-Lab community are scaling-up the impact-driven transformation of our economy toward healthier, happier, outcomes.
About Jorge Fontanez
Hailing from Puerto Rico and Philadelphia, Jorge Fontanez, CEO of B-Lab USA/Canada, now resides in New York City where he leads the organization’s work on behalf of thousands of companies throughout North America and beyond. Previously, Jorge founded Marca Studio in 2015, a brand and marketing strategy consultancy, serving for-profit social enterprises and nonprofits alike. He is a First Mover Fellow of The Business & Society Program at The Aspen Institute. Jorge brings the mindset of an intrapreneur to his work, having dedicated his private sector career focused on stakeholder engagement at the intersection of marketing, technology, and sustainability. His perspective on business as a driver for social change was formed by his experiences in leadership roles at Alcoa, Colgate-Palmolive, and JPMorgan Chase & Co. Jorge received his MBA from the Stern School of Business at New York University and a BSE from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Resources & Related Episodes
B Lab US & CAN: https://usca.bcorporation.net/
RE: Benefits of Certifying: https://usca.bcorporation.net/why-certify/
RE: Champions Retreat in Vancouver, Can (March 2024): https://usca.bcorporation.net/champions-retreat-2024/about/
RE: B Impact Self-Assessment: https://www.bcorporation.net/en-us/programs-and-tools/b-impact-assessment/
Episode 141 – Nathan Stuck, Founder, Profitable Purpose Consulting https://yonearth.org/podcast/episode-141-nathan-stuck-founder-profitable-purpose-consulting-on-b-certifications/
Episode 128 – Ruby Au, (former) Head of North America, Ecosia https://yonearth.org/podcast/episode-128-ruby-au-head-of-north-america-ecosia-search-engine/
Episode 115 – Brad “Lights Out” Lidge and Aaron Perry discuss Y on Earth & Aaron’s Viriditas Novel https://yonearth.org/podcast/episode-115-brad-lights-out-lidge-aaron-william-perry-re-viriditas-the-great-healing/
Episode 85 – Kate Williams, CEO, 1% for the Planet https://yonearth.org/podcast/episode-85-kate-williams-ceo-1-for-the-planet/
Episode 30 – Dr. Jandel Allen-Davis, MD, CEO, Craig Hospital https://yonearth.org/podcast/episode-30-dr-jandel-allen-davis-md/