Community

Shifting the Culture of Business

September 19, 2019

On August 19, 2019 the Business Roundtable announced their redefinition of the purpose of a Corporation. The updated statement moves away from Shareholder Primacy and embraces a posture of Shared Prosperity.

The statement was signed by 181 CEOs who commit who commit to lead their companies for the benefit of all stakeholders – customers, employees, suppliers, communities and shareholders.

We believe business can be a force for good in our communities and our world. In 2017, our team unanimously decided to pursue B Corp Certification to uphold our commitment to benefit all of our stakeholders. Last week the Times Free Press ran an article entitled, “Doing well by doing good: B Corporations broaden business goals to maximize shareholder value.” [source]. The article features Rockridge Venture Law and Whiteboard.

Here's a snippet of the article:

“There are only five benefit corporations in Tennessee and 15 in Georgia, but [Kevin] Christopher thinks that number will grow over time as more businesses pursue broader missions and want to certify their community work and support for non-profits.

The B Corp certification helps more than just the communities and causes such companies aid, Christopher says. The businesses themselves benefit by drawing employees and customers who appreciate working with or for a company with a broader mission.

“When you look at millennials and where they choose to work, there is a lot of brand recognition in that B Corp mark,” he says. “There is also that extra advantage that you might be able to sell better in certain markets because you have that affiliation.”

On Black Friday last year, Patagonia said it would give away $10 million from its sales. 50% of their visitors were new visitors and the company ended up having their best Christmas sales ever even though they gave away all this money.

“That is what helped inspire Tennessee's first B Corp, Whiteboard in Chattanooga, to seek the state’s first B Corp certification two years ago. Whiteboard, a branding, marketing and strategy development firm started nearly a decade ago, bills itself as “a creative agency with a purpose.”

“We not only desire to be recognized for our creativity and skills set but also for our commitment to our team, our partners, our community, and city,” says Taylor Jones, one of the company’s co-founders. “I sit in meetings with non-profit leaders who are trying to find out funding models and I want to recommend to them strategies that are used in the for-profit sector. And I sit in meetings with the for-profit leaders who have a great product, but they are losing customers because their company isn’t communicating or it is not aware of its contribution or side effects on the world. So I think these things are colliding. I think society will continue to demand that organizations have a higher social conscience, whether they are non-profit or for-profit businesses.”

Read the full story here.

“I think society will continue to demand that organizations have a higher social conscious, whether they are non-profit or for-profit businesses.”

Taylor Jones
CEO, Whiteboard

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