Last month, I attended B Inspired London, a gathering of like-minded people, hosted by B Lab UK, to explore the rapidly changing role of business in society.
The first event of its kind, this conference took place at The Bridge Theatre, a lovely venue just off Tower Bridge. On the day, 600 people came together, all keen to discuss what we can do to create a more inclusive and durable economy for all.
Attracting businesses that are already certified B Corporations like ours, those who are considering starting the certification process and some who just want to learn more about what it means to be a B Corporation, the room quickly filled with the positive energy of people passionate about using business to effect positive change.
The event kicked off with coffee and a chance to catch up with old friends, and make new ones. We enjoyed chatting with fellow B Corps and learning more from those we knew less about. We were then treated to a series of ‘TED’ style talks, the most inspiring of which (for me) were the students of host Fearghal O’Nuallain, who creatively implored us to make changes now, to positively impact their future.
I enjoyed hearing from long time personal favourite brands, The Body Shop, and Innocent Drinks, about their B Corp journeys, and found the conversation between climate activists Andrew Medhurst and Noga Levy-Rapoport particularly engaging – again, a passionate young person (Noga is 17) taking real action for her future can’t help but be inspiring.
The fireside discussions that followed the main event were a great way for businesses thinking about becoming a B Corporation to ‘pick the brains’ of those who have already been through the journey, and there was plenty of time to chat to other businesses about their aspirations.
While I enjoyed the event immensely, and certainly found it inspiring, it did feel, as one speaker put it, that we were talking a bit in an echo chamber. It certainly is an amazing event to attend if you are a business thinking of becoming a B Corporation but need a push to really see the benefit of doing this. I do think it was a great idea to invite some people who might not have otherwise had the chance to attend, and a more diverse audience could really widen the reach of the message.
However, the message itself was loud and clear – change needs to happen. At the end of the event, we were proud to be invited to join on stage all those B Corporations who have officially declared a climate emergency, and shared what they are doing about it. We look forward to future B Inspired events, where we can further focus on pooling our collective resources to come up with creative solutions for a better world.
If you too are inspired to join the global movement to use business as a force for good, check out the B Impact assessment, and see what changes you can make right now.