Governing the pursuit of purpose: a new model for B Lab in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand
B Lab Australia & Aotearoa New Zealand (AANZ) was launched in 2013 to build momentum locally for what was then still a fledgling movement out of the USA seeking to redefine success in business: to use business as a force for good. Since then the movement has grown to more than 4,000 businesses globally, in 70+ countries, with over 350 B Corps in our region.
B Corps in our region now represent myriad industries, and range from start-ups to mature businesses. All up B Corps here generate more than A$7bn in revenue per annum. The early adopters, predominantly small-medium enterprises in services sectors, have paved the way for larger businesses, with manufacturers, retailers, banks, and agribusiness enterprises all represented — united in their desire to see business have a positive impact, and sharing our vision of an inclusive, equitable and regenerative economics system for all people and the planet.
“Since it was originally founded by a vanguard of Australian B Corps, B Lab AANZ has been a start-up in a fast moving and complex environment. B Lab AANZ’s governance requirements have also been dynamic and demanding — overseeing the growth of an organisation, serving a diverse community of businesses, working in step with a global movement, and promoting transition to a better economy. It’s time to rethink the governance approach that we need to see B Lab continue to grow and pursue its mission.” — Alex Hannant, Co-Chair, B Lab AANZ
This community of innovators, aligned in seeing the importance of delivering a public benefit alongside profit, and considering their impact on stakeholders as well shareholders, look to B Lab to provide both service and support, and to lead the local movement. B Lab AANZ has expanded its team and evolved its business and operating model through the pandemic period in conjunction with changes to the B Lab model globally. We have reached the point where our growth, our movement, needs more input and stewardship from B Corps but our community has grown to a point that can’t be done through personal connections alone.
“This role has been the most challenging but fulfilling work of my life, and amongst many learnings it has become clear to me that to move into our next phase — to drive the change we seek — we need to centre the Certified B Corporation community in our governance system.” — Andrew Davies, CEO, B Lab AANZ
With this in mind, we have been working all year on a new model of governance. B Lab AANZ will be launching a new B Council and Horizon Council in the year ahead, with the B Council arriving in late 2021. Alongside this, we’re recruiting new Board members. The Board, B Council, and Horizon Council are designed to work as separate but interconnected elements of a governance system. For a deeper perspective on our thinking, including an outline of each of these new bodies, please take a look at the paper linked below, and if you’d like to connect to discuss our thinking, please get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
We’ll be launching the B Council and calling for expressions of interest for both the B Council and the Board on 29 October 2021, and we’ll be sharing more then, so stay tuned!