Good Business and GOOD Business Good Business and GOOD Business
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Good Business and GOOD Business

October 15, 2008

A conversation with Jonathan Greenblatt and Jay Coen Gilbert

GOOD: There is a range of media options available to you and many that are consumed by business people. I'm glad you want to work with us.GILBERT: GOOD has a unique voice and we believe it's that voice that will give the B Corp community the chance to be heard beyond the choir. So why is GOOD doing GOOD Business?We saw an opportunity to draw upon our sensibility to cover this evolution of enterprises, businesses, and others. There's an absence of authenticity in the media land-scape, and we hope to lend a credible lens to consider the issues and the companies that are seeking to push boundaries and rethink core behaviors. We want to give voice to the growing community of conscious consumers who will punish a business that abandons its values, creating a market that will address discrepancies between theory and practice.Greenwashers only get "punished" if consumers have a way to tell the difference between a good company and just good marketing. Without standards, it's "just he said, she said."I guess that's where B Corp comes in. But was the marketplace really aching for a Better Business Bureau 2.0?We live in cynical times with overwhelming amounts of information. Brands help us cut through that, and certifications like ours build brands with meaning. I don't think perception is the issue-authenticity is the issue. Impact is the issue. We can't get either without independent third-party standards. So far, more than 130 companies-representing a billion dollars in collective revenue-have decided to become Certified B Corporations so they can maintain their missions as they grow and influence the market beyond their own success. The B ratings system is the tool used to assess the performance, not the intention, of B Corporations.I agree. There's tremendous value to developing new tools to measure impact and the efficacy of various methodologies. So then why is GOOD not a B Corp?A big factor was on the fundraising front. Part of our rationale was to take out any wrinkles and make it as easy as possible to raise capital. There was concern that B status might either confuse or put-off potential supporters.That's an understandable concern. Many B Corporations have gone through a similar process, and anything new requires explanation. But once explained, many investors, mainstream and social, have determined that incorporating the B Corp language into their company's articles can enhance value.How does it add value from an investor's point of view?It gives investors independent third-party assurance that the company will remain legally accountable to consider the impact of its decisions-not only on the short-term financial interests of the shareholder, but also to the long-term interests of employees, community, and the environment. No one has to believe the previous CEO or me; they can look to a transparent set of standards.So as B evolves into a well-understood and widely syndicated certification, almost like a Transfair seal, I could imagine that consumers would use it to differentiate between those businesses that talk about doing good and those that really walk the walk.Not just consumers, but investors, who want to ensure that the goodwill they invest in doesn't vanish. Authenticity and credibility are enhanced by independent third-party validation. This isn't new thinking. What is new is applying this thinking to a business as a whole, rather than to just a product.
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Good Business and GOOD Business