We attended the fourth European B Corp Summit – the gathering of purpose-driven businesses – on the 23rd and 24th of September. Almost 700 people from 23 countries attended two days of inspiring panel discussions, workshops and networking opportunities in Amsterdam. The event was organized by the non-profit B Lab Europe which helped HCP get certified in 2017.This was the third time we took part since becoming a B Corp. We could see that the B Corp network is becoming bigger and their message of balancing purpose and profit louder.
Businesses have a responsibility to work together to build a more inclusive economy and B Corps are at the forefront of this movement. We are proud to be a part of this movement as the first B certified company in Finland.
Messages from the B Lab and other B Corps
Jay Coen Gilbert, co-founder of B Lab and the B Corp movement declared: “We don’t have much time left to make sure we can preserve our home not just for us but for future generations. […] Incremental change is insufficient, individual change is insufficient. We need systemic change”.
A systemic change may be hard, but we have seen some promising initiatives lately. In September, the Financial Times declared it’s time to reset capitalism. They are examining a model of free enterprise capitalism that does not focus on maximizing shareholder value under the heading of the ‘New Agenda.’
The Business Roundtable, an association of CEOs of leading US companies including Apple and JP Morgan Chase, announced in the New York Times that they are committed to lead for the benefit of all stakeholders.
This is also our mission and the mission of the B Corp movement. But what we need now is action beyond nice words. We need to walk the walk – as it appeared in the response by a group of B Corps to the above NYT piece.
B Corp letter to the Business Roundtable
Some of our B Corp friends like Patagonia and Ben & Jerry’s have hit the streets to support climate strikes. “We need to stand out because with more heads, it will become easier to build a more sustainable future. This is the power of the B Corp community,” stated Anuradha Chugh, Managing Director at Ben & Jerry’s.
Some other B Corps work within their line of business.
What is the role of finance?
In the summit, we were happy to see many other financial service providers that have joined the B Corp movement. Some are seeking to build a better future by directly financing companies and innovative solutions for a more sustainable tomorrow.
We were especially pleased to meet people from a Swiss private bank, Lombard Odier, that got B certified earlier this year. They have been in business for more than 200 years, and surely know something about sustainability in finance.
Their Head of Corporate Sustainability, Ebba Lepage stated that: “We see our role as a thought leader, leading the change. […] We invest in sustainable business models because we believe they do good for the world and have good business models that will last.”
At HCP, we want to be a part of a more sustainable future by leading the change we want to see within the financial service industry.
“We believe HCP’s way of operating as a business can demonstrate how an asset manager can be responsible. It is not just about launching green bonds and ESG funds. We emphasize having a high standard on governance and we disclose what we do – from how much tax contribution we make to the company’s pay structure. If we cannot be a responsible business ourselves, how could we preach others to be one,” stated Jo Iwasaki from HCP.
We would like to believe that we demonstrate to the world that the financial service industry can be a force for good.
Leading the beat of purpose-driven business
We believe that the B Corp movement is one of those initiatives that carries a promise of a more sustainable tomorrow. We wish to encourage more business leaders to think about their mission and contribution to the wellbeing of the world by promoting the idea of B Corporation at Slush, that is, the leading tech start-up event in the Nordics.
We host an afternoon event on 22 November at Mesukeskus, attached to Slush but not within the main area, so you don’t need a Slush ticket to join us. At this event, we will have a presentation by B Lab, a couple of B Corps to share their experience of getting certified and what it brought to them, followed by a self-assessment session.
If you wish to know more or attend, email our investor relations at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will follow this by a networking event (’HCP lounge & sauna’) back at the HCP office at Kaapelitehdas/Cable Factory, where we can continue discussions on the topic.