The 2018 Best For The World honorees include (clockwise from top left):
Sunrise Banks, Animal Experience International, Mascoma Bank, and CORE Kitchen.
21st century business leaders see assets everywhere and in everyone. They create value and competitive advantage by competing not just to be best in the world, but best for the world.
As consumers, talent and investors increasingly seek values-aligned businesses to buy from, work for and invest in, entrepreneurs are seeking to create the greatest positive impact not just to be nice, but to be more successful. The supporting evidence is mounting and clear.
As I covered earlier this year, Larry Fink, the President of BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, sent an annual letter to CEOs that stated, “Without a sense of purpose, no company, either public or private, can achieve its full potential.”
Andrew Ross Sorkin, the thought-leading DealBook columnist for The New York Times said of Fink’s letter in his column at the time, “BlackRock’s Message: Contribute to Society, or Risk Losing Our Support”: “This could be a watershed moment on Wall Street, one that raises all sorts of questions about the very nature of capitalism.”
A new, unified vision of capitalism, one that puts people and planet alongside profits as the purpose of business, is one Certified B Corps have been working toward for more than a decade. B Corps are businesses that are verified by the nonprofit B Lab for their positive impact on society and the environment.
Meet the Leaders Redefining Success in Business
A new vision of capitalism needs new leaders. Leaders who build their missions into their businesses’ DNA. Leaders who compete not just to be best of the best, but to be best for the world.
The 2018 Best For The World list of nearly 1,000 global business leaders is announced today by B Lab. These businesses, which span more than 100 industries and 52 countries, are lighting the way for early adopters within mainstream businesses to join the purpose-driven movement. The 2018 Best For The World honorees—who all meet the highest standards of legal accountability to consider stakeholder interests when making decisions and of public transparency to rebuild trust—are recognized for achieving a verified score in the top 10 percent of all Certified B Corporations on the B Impact Assessment (the assessment used by B Lab to certify B Corps and measure the impact of global investment portfolios). As in prior years, separate lists of honorees exist for overall, worker, customer, community, governance and environmental impact.
The full, sortable list of nearly 1,000 Best For The World 2018 honorees is available on B the Change. To further explore the lists , you can view the interactive B Analytics platform. For real data wonks, you can review and even contribute to the analysis and visualization of the impact of the Best For The World honorees. These datasets are hosted by Best For The World: Governance honoree data.world. You can also read stories highlighting honorees from this year’s lists and review the Best For The World criteria.
What Does the Future of Business Look Like?
The future looks like mutually owned and independent Mascoma Bank, headquartered in Lebanon, New Hampshire. With more than 6,700 banks in the United States, Mascoma is setting itself apart by investing in its local community and its people for nearly 120 years. The mutually owned bank has no shareholders — the owners are the depositors and, really, the community. It gave $1.5 million to philanthropic efforts in 2017, between the bank and its foundation. “I think our employees view us as being a place that is truly focused first on its communities,” says CEO Clay Adams. “Our employees know we have their backs, and they’re more willing to go to bat for their customers as a result. In my view, that is what will drive financial results, which of course plow back into the community as well.”
And the future has more companies with sourcing and hiring practices like that at Bay Area’s CORE Kitchen. All of the restaurant’s food is prepped and prepared on-site. Everything from chopping zucchini for the popular Thai zucchini noodles dish to cracking coconuts for curry collard wraps has to happen day-of and in-house. The number of free, healthy meals served to homeless families climbed to more than 40,000 in 2015. Team members qualifying for some sort of economic or workforce development program has climbed from around 25 percent in 2011 to almost 75 percent in 2016.“We hire formerly incarcerated individuals, with a preferential policy for people with life sentences on parole. We take people who have committed the worst of crimes, forgive them completely, and give them a chance to be defined by their dreams, not by their mistakes,” Founder and CEO Corey Rennell says. Rennell and his team are working on a guide to share with other businesses to help them build in hiring people with barriers to employment.
The future of business is also home to companies like Houwzer, a Philly based real-estate disrupter. Houwzer was launched by veteran Mike Maher in 2015, posted $670,000 in revenue in 2016, was heading north of $1.5 million in 2017. The company has 50 full-time employees, most of whom are real estate agents who receive a salary instead of a commission, with offices in Philly, Haddonfield, Conshohocken, West Chester, and Washington, D.C. Houwzer differentiates itself in the marketplace by eliminating the 3 percent seller commission fee, instead charging a $995 flat fee to cover the costs of marketing the listing, which the seller pays only upon a sale. Finally, Maher has inculcated into his business a social impact culture—Houwzer is the only real estate brokerage B Corporation in the nation. “There is so much broken in this business,” Maher says. “We’re selling brick and mortar, and yet we’re not involved in our communities. Real estate has so many implications—socio-economic, gentrification. Yet we act like we’re doing just another transaction.” Houwzer employees perform 50 volunteer service hours each year and the company annually donates 2.5 percent of profits to charity.
These exemplary businesses are only three of the nearly 1,000 Best For The World honorees demonstrating 21st century leadership. They are redefining success in business so that their success rewards not only their shareholders, but also their customers, their employees, their communities, and future generations.