We are living in unprecedented times. The most important global climate conference to address accelerating climate change and ecological breakdown has been forced to move to the other side of the world four weeks before the event because of the most recent example of a more immediate and growing threat to our global social order, persistent social inequities and increasing inequality.
It is clear to us that these twin crises are being driven, and responses constrained, by an economic system that rewards the single-minded pursuit of profits while untenably externalising environmental and social costs. This results in decisions that prioritize short term financial returns often at the expense of people, communities and the natural world on which all life depends.
As business leaders, we recognize these crises as threats to healthy markets and healthy businesses. As human beings, we recognize these crises as threats to our quality of life and the quality of life of our children and their children.
We will have more to say in the near future about this underlying system failure, but in the context of COP25, we believe the science shows that a 1.5°C increase in average global temperature is the limit to reduce the worst impacts for our planet and its inhabitants, especially communities on the frontlines who will be impacted first and most significantly. At the current trajectory, it is estimated we will reach this limit as early as 2030.
We believe, therefore, that it is imperative for all businesses to demonstrate leadership in eliminating emissions, drawing down carbon, and ensuring a just transition for displaced workers and communities to a net zero emissions economy. In addition, we believe it is imperative to use the power of our collective voice to advocate for policy changes necessary to remove impediments and align incentives that will drive meaningful climate action.
A Commitment to Climate Action
The Certified B Corporation movement is about leadership. All B Corps sign a Declaration of Interdependence stating the belief, "That all business ought to be conducted as if people and place mattered [...] and thus we are responsible for each other and future generations." All B Corps make a legal commitment to conduct business with consideration for the environment and all stakeholders, not just shareholders.
Therefore, the B Corp movement is taking the following urgent actions:
Climate Action: Many B Corps around the world are leaders in responding to the climate emergency including following the steps outlined below; we urge the entire global B Corp community to:
Declare a Climate Emergency. Use the Climate Emergency Playbook for Business as a roadmap to engage their board and team with the science-based facts and the implications for their business and for society, especially for those most vulnerable.
Accelerate Carbon Reduction. Calculate their baseline Scope 1-3 emissions aligned to an independent internationally recognized standard and commit to accelerate their current emissions reduction trajectory using the Climate Action module of the SDG Action Manager to meet the global goals of a 1.5°C average temperature increase.
Develop a Net Zero Plan. Offset the remaining carbon emissions to achieve net zero emissions between 2025-2050.
Join the B Corp Climate Collective. Become part of a global community of learning and practice regarding climate action, climate justice and climate advocacy.
Climate Advocacy: Recognizing that voluntary action by individual businesses is insufficient to address the scale of the climate emergency, we commit to use the power of our collective voice to advocate for policy changes necessary to remove impediments and align incentives to achieve a rapid and just transition to a net zero carbon economy. We will share publicly in 2020 a policy and advocacy strategy for the global B Corp community to support meaningful climate action.
Update Our Standards: Recognizing that the performance requirements for B Corp Certification are designed to differentiate leaders, and are also used as a free roadmap and toolkit for action by tens of thousands of other businesses around the world, B Lab will immediately begin to re-evaluate these requirements in the context of the climate emergency and other pressing issues the world faces today. Proposed recommendations based on a public multi-stakeholder engagement process will be made to the independent B Lab Standards Advisory Council.
Today, we affirm our commitment to collective and immediate action to halt and reverse the current climate trajectory and to build an economic system whose purpose is to create shared and durable prosperity for all and for the long term. We not only call on our community of B Corps, but all businesses to champion meaningful climate solutions to secure the health of people and our home planet for future generations.
B Lab/Sistema B Global Network
Serving a Global Movement of People Using Business as a Force for Good