A recent article in the Washington Post brought some surprising news: “…the Business Roundtable, which represents the chief executives of 192 large companies, said that business leaders should commit to balancing the needs of shareholders with customers, employees, suppliers and local communities.”
Is the B-Corporation intent of being good FOR the world catching on?
The Roundtable, chaired by JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, issued a statement saying: “Americans deserve an economy that allows each person to succeed through hard work and creativity and to lead a life of meaning and dignity. We commit to deliver value to all of them, for the future success of our companies, our communities and our country.”
Response to this information on social media has been partially welcoming, partially suspicious and at times cynical. The people are not convinced that these top corporations will stop considering shareholder profit more important than the people, the community and the environment.
Here at AMS, we know that it can be done… because we have always done it. Ever since its inception AMS has created a ‘family’ culture that values employees, community and environment. We know that this passion translates into dedicated employees, better service for the clients and a very high performing company.
A few years ago AMS became a B-Corporation and Social Enterprise. B-Corporations agree to the higher social and environmental standards that these 192 leaders expressed as being their goal, i.e. balancing the needs of shareholders with customers, employees, the environment and local communities.
From Wikipedia we can get some idea of what B Corporation means: “Benefit corporation laws address concerns held by entrepreneurs who wish to raise growth capital but fear losing control of the social or environmental mission of their business. In addition, the laws provide companies the ability to consider factors other than the highest purchase offer at the time of sale. Chartering as a benefit corporation also allows companies to distinguish themselves as businesses with a social conscience, and as one that aspires to a standard they consider higher than profit-maximization for shareholders.
If the B-Corp intention of being good FOR the world is catching on, it is because the people… the customers, the clients, the CEOs and even the shareholders, want it and are beginning to require it. We want environmental protection. We want well-being for our communities and purposeful and rewarding work for employees.
When a company applies for B-Corp status, it is rated based on factors like energy efficiency, employee benefits, and corporate transparency. The applicant must achieve a high score and modify their governing documents to acknowledge their commitment. Once certified, they are required to recertify every two years.
AMS successfully applied, and has remained fully committed to a social mission. The achievements of AMS have been primarily in the arena of education and workforce development, undertaken in cooperation with the SCV College of the Canyons (COC).
AMS and COC created a Logistics Apprenticeship program which is a ground-breaking first of its kind in the US. This program, as well as a number of free educational programs offered in the AMS Learning Center, have set the company apart.
Hand in hand with education and training, AMS is keenly focused on the underserved job seekers in the community, spanning a wide demographic from single mothers to the homeless, to veterans and seniors, to formerly incarcerated individuals and to individuals with disabilities.
Because of our experience and longstanding commitment we are very pleased to see the commitment of the Roundtable of top CEOs. We know that there can be a new concept of ‘what is success’. The environment, the people, the communities, the clients, the customers and the shareholders can all benefit from the success of a Benefit Corporation.
Jay Catlin, AMS CEO, offered the following: “Our B-Corp culture has been with us from the beginning, long before we officially became a B-Corp and social enterprise. We make the work experience more than just a paycheck and give meaning that goes well beyond making ends meet. This comes from a genuine commitment to our customers, employees, community, and the environment.”