B Inspired London 2019

On Tuesday 10th October, Fluid attended the first ever B Corp event at the Bridge Theatre near the iconic London Bridge. This event, called B Inspired, marked a huge moment in B Corp history. For the first time in the UK, over 600 people gathered to explore the future of business and build on the momentum created by the B Corp community.

B Inspired London 2019
B Inspired London 2019

The community that B Corp refers to is the group of business leaders who are driving a movement of people to use our businesses as a force for good. Mainly by trying to balance purpose and profit in equal measure, considering decisions based upon their employees, customers, suppliers, environment and the wider community.

This really was a star studded event with speakers and discussions from the former CFO of Google, the MD of Innocent Drinks, and the Sustainability Manager of The Body Shop. All their stories of why and how sustainability has guided them, were insightful and useful on a personal level, as Fluid develops its own 3 Pillars of Fluid Friends, Family and Futures to guide its purpose.

So did the event achieve what it set out to do?

With half the audience being certified B Corp members and the other half in the process, the event clearly tried to cater for both. The environment and climate change were dominant themes throughout with exceptional talks from students on biased societal views, and the current Extinction Rebellion protests all up for debate. These shock tactics on the future state of our planet, and the impact on future generations, is sure to push more high-profile businesses to listen.

Tortoise Media have now created The Responsibility 100 Index ranking the FTSE 100 companies on their contribution towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Holding these large companies to account and pushing their decisions over sustainable business practises into the limelight.  With over 6500 organisations now in the audit stages with B Corp these tactics are clearly working.

So the event was inspiring, but is this going to be enough just to force businesses into considering change? Fluid is already a B Corp Member. We are already inspired to change our working practices, and from this perspective the event was a little light on practical advice for how companies can see the change needed to make a meaningful impact. Aspects on how businesses can influence customers on making more informed products choices, and suppliers on sustainable manufacturing processes could have been featured. There are 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, including poverty, equality, education, well-being and economic growth. This B Corp event was never going to be able to cover all of these, so it did introduce the SDG Action Manager to help guide businesses in all these areas.

Finally the event left the audience considering the word ‘Hope’. An optimistic state of mind that is based on an expectation of positive outcomes for one’s life or the world at large. The question is whether just hoping is going to be enough. Time is running out, and if large organisations are just being shamed into making a change then this will take too long.

What B Corp stands for, and is trying to inspire among business leaders, is absolutely the right thing to be doing. Business Leaders are in a very privileged position of being able to influence their employees, clients and suppliers to make a positive difference and think about their actions for the wider community and the impact on communities and our planet.

Hope is a verb. A doing or action word. Let’s hope that all our business leaders take the actions that are required to make a change.