What does it take to become the “most responsible business” in Australia? Who holds the “title” and how on earth would you judge it? There are all sorts of ways to be responsible so, in order to compare not-so rotten apples, here’s a look at the top 5 (or 6) responsible businesses according to the scores they achieved in the B Corp Assessment and certification process.
Being a high scoring B Corp isn’t the only way to demonstrate social responsibility but it is a pretty good one. The idea is that businesses improve and demonstrate their social, environmental and economic impact, thus enhance their standing in the community, build reputation, and do some Good. By undertaking the B Corp assessment and annual reviews, businesses can set and meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.
The B Corp website suggests that “a B Corp is to business what Fair Trade certification is to coffee” and given their growing community of more than 1,400 Certified B Corps from 42 countries working together toward 1 unifying goal “to redefine success in business” they could well be onto something.
So here goes: Who’s B’ing the best?
A quick note, in this ranking we’ve simply looked at overall score, which makes it harder for very small organisations to feature, as plenty of extra points are available if you’re an employer. The scores are out of 200 with 80 being the cut-off to be accepted as a certified B Corporation. If you’re keen to know more, head over to the B Corporation Australia website.
5. Our Community and Climate Friendly (tied on 113 points)
Our Community, which has 80000 members, and a huge online resource, is a social enterprise that develops tools, training and technologies for not-for-profit organisations. They partner with grant-makers, businesses, and “community builders” to support not-for-profits to “build stronger communities”.
Climate Friendly are aiming to help organisations reduce CO2 emissions by 50 million tonnes by 2020. They do this through carbon offset and credit schemes, providing renewable energy options and working closely with organisations to identify where the biggest changes can be made.
4. Social Enterprise Finance Australia (123 points)
Founded with a Federal Government grant and private funding, Social Enterprise Finance Australia (SEFA) provides loans to not-for-profit organisations and social enterprises to “unlock social impact”.
3. Australian Ethical Investment (131 points)
Australian Ethical Investment actively seek out opportunities that deliver positive social and environmental impact, whilst using a negative screen to avoid “funding harmful things like tobacco… exploitation of people or old growth forest logging”. Their investing activity is guided by a tool they call the Australian Ethical Charter.
2. Three Sista’s (138 points)
A social enterprise based in Cairns, and Queensland’s first B Corp, Three Sista’s provides transitional and crisis accommodation for homeless people, whilst working to the mantra of “a hand up not a hand out”. Three Sista’s started out by buying the rights to manage an old resort, converting it into a range of units to suit tenant’s differing needs. They now provide learning and development opportunities to support tenants’ longer term objectives.
1. Global Leadership Foundation (140 points)
And the winner is… Global Leadership Foundation with a whopping 140 points! Global Leadership Foundation offers mentoring, community-based programs and experiences, coaching, and a whole lot else to develop leadership skills of executives, board members and managers. They are one of the most recent B Corps, having only been certified in August this year, but have clearly taken the scene by storm, earning higher than average scores across the community, customers, workers and governance categories.
Social sustainability starts with leadership
Gayle Hardie and Malcolm Lazenby, Co-Founders and Directors of Global Leadership Foundation say “From the moment we formed Global Leadership Foundation in 2003, we have always believed that social sustainability starts with leadership . Leaders operate with both courage and care, and a strong sense of “other” over “self”, and our work is to support them to remain emotionally healthy despite the challenges they may face.”