10 May 2023

Collaboration and Alignment: A fundamental route to Net Zero

By Paul Lewis

We Mean Business Coalition and B Lab, two prominent non-profit organisations, have announced a new partnership to accelerate progress in cutting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions worldwide. This partnership is a significant milestone for both the Net Zero and B Corp movements and comes just months after the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report delivered a stark message on the climate emergency: “There is a rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all.”

The consequences will be catastrophic if businesses do not take action now.

Strength of collaboration

The partnership between We Mean Business and B Lab represents a significant milestone for both the Net Zero and B Corp movements. By joining forces, these two custodians will be able to support even more organisations, by delivering more, holding businesses to account and making a bigger impact towards creating a sustainable future for us all.

The science

The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) has developed a way for companies to calculate their share of responsibility. It promotes best practices in emissions reduction and Net Zero targets in line with climate science, whilst giving guidance on target-setting methods and supports businesses through the independent assessment and validation of targets. As a coalition of seven business-focused climate non-profits, We Mean Business Coalition is driving corporate net zero leadership. 

Similarly, Certified B Corps are part of a movement to create a new type of economic model: a shift from the belief that the sole purpose of a business is to maximise shareholder profits to the belief that a business must create value for all stakeholders, including employees, customers, suppliers, communities and the environment. Having worked in the industry for 20 years, I’ve never seen anything as powerful, accessible and engaging as the B Corp framework. It is my fundamental belief that all businesses need to embrace it to fulfil their purpose. To become a Certified B Corp, a company must play a part in the climate solution.

This partnership between We Mean Business and B Lab is bringing it all together – a seminal moment indeed. The alliance provides a unique opportunity for both parties to support each other, unlocking new possibilities for growth. 

Companies committed to cutting emissions in line with climate science now represent $38 trillion of the global economy – sciencebasedtargets.org

The importance of this partnership

Being a B Corp involves meeting the highest standards of social and environmental impact – it means a company is part of the solution to global carbon problems. Thanks to this partnership, that message is now crystal clear. By aligning both frameworks, the partnership brings clarity and simplicity to companies that want to do better, making it easier for them to understand how to achieve their goals.

In my opinion, the immediate action will be for companies to comply with the evolving 2024 B Corp standards, requiring them to have a Science Based Target initiative pathway. This means that submissions for B Corp certification must have approved emissions targets to succeed.

Between 2018 and 2021 B Corps saw a 15% headcount growth rate vs the national average of only 1% (B Lab UK 2021), indicating the value of this framework to businesses.

It’s clear that it’s going to become even easier to employ good people in today’s world if your organisation has a moral license to operate as a business with a science-based target pathway and is a B Corp.

Logos - B Lab, We Mean Business Coalition

The perfect fit

The partnership between We Mean Business Coalition and B Lab is going to bring environmental and social issues to the forefront, on a global scale, representing much of what the B Corp movement stands for.

We’re proud of the range of organisations that Seismic works with that have made the bold and courageous commitment to commit to B Lab’s high standards and deliver a science-based target and net-zero pathway. They’re the companies that are future-fit and will thrive in the near and longer term. Their stakeholders, their employees, suppliers and investors will all benefit in the process. 

Between 2012 and 2020 B Corps saw an average turnover growth of 26% compared to the national average of 5% (B Lab UK 2021), clarifying that it’s easier to employ people and get investment if you’re a B Corp. 

At Seismic, we advise and bring together communities in both the B Corp and Net Zero movements. From my previous role as CEO of Carbon Intelligence with former team members now working at the SBTi, and today delivering carbon services for Seismic’s wonderful clients, I know first-hand that these communities need to work closely together to achieve success.

I write this from Amsterdam, where I’m currently celebrating B Lab Europe’s 10th anniversary, as well as reviewing the evolution of the B Corp criteria. It’s essential that the B Corp framework continues to evolve to stay updated on scientific developments. 

With this partnership, we are one step closer to creating a resilient, zero-emissions economy grounded in science, and we look forward to continuing to work towards these critical goals with our partners and clients.

Accelerate your impact journey

Join us in supporting the Coalition and get in touch if you’d like to talk about your business becoming a B Corp. 

Learn more about the B Lab and We Mean Business Coalition partnership.