It’s time for another offering in our B Corp Series. In this series we feature outstanding B Corporations, sharing information and inspiration on how they serve to B the Change.
On the bcorporation.net website the featured article this week is about a B Corporation that has been an incredible example of what business can do to create positive change and really push the system in a way that can create a better world. The business that is featured is one we’ve all heard of and admired – Patagonia.
Patagonia is a company that sells outdoor clothing and gear, and it has recently celebrated 50 years in business! The company became a B Corporation in 2012 and it adopted benefit corporation legislation to embed purpose in its governance structure.
What has Patagonia done to become a shining star in the B Corp Community?
Speaking in 2012 the founder of Patagonia, Yvon Chouinard, stated the following about what being a B Corp would mean. “This B Corp thing allows us to have a way that I think the values of my company can continue, even after it’s sold and it’s way down the line… and I’m pretty excited about that.”
As we can see, from what he said, the company had its values and he made a legal commitment to keep the values high, even after his departure. Ten years later he made another impactful decision… he transferred the company ownership to a Trust, with the commitment that all the profits would be directed toward fighting climate change. About the decision, he said, “Truth be told, there were no good options available. So, we created our own.” We published a blog here at AMS on the forming of the Trust linked HERE.
New Model of Capitalism
What Patagonia is doing with the B Corp community is called a “New Model of Capitalism.” What is this new model of capitalism and how do B Corporations demonstrate this model? The new model is people before profit. The old model of capitalism is profit above all. For many years we have seen what it means to seek profit at the expense of the environment and the community, or at the expense of the workforce. The new model places the environment, the employees, the community and the clients as stakeholders in the business decisions.
When AMS makes a decision, the questions must be asked… how does this decision impact employees; how does this decision affect the environment; how does this decision impact the community and how does it affect the clients? The new model involves taking action to reduce the company’s negative impact on the environment, taking action to make employees safe and enjoying benefits such as free education. The same thing could be said for the community and clients – take action to meet their needs.
Patagonia already had B the Change ideals and lived by them. The higher purpose of the corporation was strengthened by the legal commitment to be a B Corporation. A similar statement could be made of AMS, as AMS was very much committed to being ‘green’, having a diverse and appreciated workforce, being a benefit to the community and to clients as partners. The B Corporation commitment strengthened an already existing culture. It comes with the reward of being a part of the exemplary B Corp community.
Do companies have to put all their profits into an environmental trust? No – Patagonia is a shining star. At a recent B Corp Champions Retreat, where Patagonia was honored, the company’s President Jenna Johnson answered that question:
“We don’t need everyone doing the exact same thing and even at the exact same scale. All of us really passionately living into what we bring into this world as we co-create a new model of capitalism together is how we’re going to be successful at it.”
The full article is linked HERE.
Happy 50th birthday Patagonia!