By Jay Coen Gilbert, B Lab co-founder
Fast growth is one measure of a business’s success, but it is no longer enough. The world needs businesses that are both high growth and high impact. The world needs businesses that make “yes/and” the norm, and leave the old thinking of “either/or” behind. The world needs social unicorns who, instead of aiming to hit $1 billion, reach to touch one billion lives.
With the rise of populist anger at a system that feels rigged, people are hungry for businesses that are changing the system. Businesses that compete not only to be best in the world, but also to be 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.
This week, B Lab released its annual list of Best for the World honorees. The 2017 list recognizes 846 businesses to inspire us and to learn from. These 846 businesses offer a positive vision of a better way to do business. This year’s honorees span 52 industries and 30 countries, and range from pre-IPO unicorns to multibillion-dollar publicly traded companies. More than any prior lists, this year’s Best for the World honorees are evidence of a global culture shift to redefine success in business.
Viable alternative. Check.
Best for the World honorees are recognized for meeting the highest standards of legal accountability to consider stakeholder interests when making decisions and of public transparency to rebuild trust. In addition, they are also recognized for achieving a verified score in the top 10 percent of all Certified B Corporations on the B Impact Assessment. As in prior years, separate lists of honorees exist for overall, worker, customer, community and environmental impact. This year, two additional categories — Changemakers and Best for the Long Term — are recognized for making the most positive change in their B Impact Assessment over time and earning a top score in impact governance, respectively.
These companies prove that there is a viable alternative to business as usual. These companies prove that we can, and do, live in a “yes/and” world. These companies prove that any company can compete to be not just best in the world, but best for the world.
Explore the Data
To sort and further explore the lists — find all honorees in one category, find honorees near you, and more — 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 Long Term honoree data.world.