Has the B Corp movement got too big?
With over 6,000 B Corps operating globally, even among some multinationals that have sparked controversy, there are efforts to re-evaluate the certification process to ensure the continued effectiveness of the movement’s positive influence.
Since the certification of the first B Corps in 2007, there has been a significant evolution of the movement. Initially, all certified companies were small or medium-sized and focused on purpose-driven initiatives, like Patagonia, the outdoor clothing retailer. Presently, over 90 of the 6,000+ B Corps are multinational corporations, and their employees make up nearly a third of the total B Corp workforce.
Nestlé-owned coffee brand Nespresso is among the multinational B Corps, and its certification last year caused some controversy within the movement. This led to an open letter signed by 30 existing members urging B Lab to strengthen the certification process to avoid jeopardizing the movement’s integrity.
“The movement has reached a point where it needs to step back and critically reassess its purpose and how far it is living up to its potential,” says Dr Malu Villela, a senior research associate at the University of Bristol’s School of Management.