This past week I attended the “Meet the Bs: Wisconsin Certified B Corps Showcase and Happy Hour,” hosted by Lakefront Brewery in Milwaukee, WI. The event served as a reminder that it’s still very early days for the B Corps movement.

I'm excited about joining forces to promote for-profit businesses while being mindful of how we can do so sustainably planet-wide!

In this blog post, I will talk about the global B Corp movement, highlight the Wisconsin-based B Corps, and highlight what sets a Certified B Corp apart: their focus on impact over activity. 

An update on the B Corp movement 
As of September 2022, there are approximately 5,800 certified B Corp companies in 85 countries. In the state of Wisconsin, there are 17 certified B corps. Wisconsin has also formed a “B Local” organization to create connections and raise awareness of the B Corp movement. It's amazing how welcoming and supportive the Wisconsin B local community has been to Bear Lake Coffee Co.! It was inspiring to talk to some of the following organizations this past week:

 

NAME

INDUSTRY

Stone Creek Coffee

Beverages

Evolution Marketing

Environmental consulting

WholeTrees

Wood & wood products

Artisan Dental

Medical & dental practice

Workshop Architects

Architecture design & planning

Zyn

Beverages

Vista Global

Management consultant - nonprofits

Indigenous Pact

Health insurance

Just Coffee Cooperative

Agricultural processing

Cream City Conservation

Environmental consulting

Envest Microfinance

Other credit - emerging markets

Rebel Green

Cleaning products

Tribal 9 Foods

Food products

CultureCon

Other professional, scientific & tech

Lakefront Brewery

Beverages

Cricket Design Works

Advertising & market research

Riverwater Partners

Investment advising

 

What is so impressive about these companies is their of transparency and accountability. An excellent example of this is in the Lakefront brewery’s annual impact report for 2021. As you read through it, you will see that they show impact in five areas.

Figure 1 - 5 Areas of Impact for certified B Corps

What sets these companies apart is that they have chosen impact over activity as their north star.

Impact is a term often overused today. I realize that every company exists to make some impact—even if that impact is making a profit for its shareholders—but the most successful companies have a clear sense of purpose and impact beyond profit.

What’s the difference between corporate impact and activity? 
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become increasingly important to investors and the general public in recent years. Unfortunately, as a result, some companies have become far more concerned with presenting themselves in a good light by highlighting activities vs. demonstrating how they have a positive impact. A great example is a company that touts its commitment to diversity and inclusion by hiring a few token employees from underrepresented groups. But if those employees don't feel like they're being included in the company's decision-making processes or given equal opportunities for advancement, then the company isn't doing anything to address the root cause of the issue—or genuinely making an impact. 

Closing Thoughts
Jackie Robinson once said, “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.”   What he was saying is that the only thing that matters is to help others live better, to improve their condition, to help them believe in themselves, and to help them achieve more than they thought they could.  

More businesses need to adopt this “impact” mindset and work to improve the lives of their customers. When you make a concerted effort to help others, they in turn appreciate your business more and are more likely to return as a customer or even refer their friends.

What have you done lately to positively impact the lives of your customers?

-----------------------

Sources:

www.blocalwisconsin.org/

www.bcorporation.net/en-us/

www.brainyquote.com/quotes/jackie_robinson_164443

https://lakefrontbrewery.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/B-Corp-Annual-Report-2021-20220526.pdf

Written by Gabe Damiani

More stories

Bear Lake Coffee Co. Has a Home!

We are excited to announce the venue of our first coffeehouse in Barronett, WI. This will be the start of a new era for us! In April this year, we went online roasting and fulfilling orders through a partnership out of Atlanta, GA. The past months have been full of learning, connecting with the coffee community, and dreaming of what could be. In this blog post, I will share a little about the history of our first venue and our vision for our first coffeehouse & roastery.