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Igniting the B Corp Movement with Chris Marquis

On the anniversary of Milton Friedman’s prophetic—and now contentious—statement that the sole social responsibility of a business is to produce a profit, we spoke with one of the foremost champions of the B Corp movement. 

B Corps, of course, are businesses built to drive returns for the “triple bottom line” by balancing

purpose and profit. To talk about the movement, the future of purpose-driven business, and how things have changed since the Friedman days, we welcome Chris Marquis, PhD, a professor at the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business and expert on the B Corp movement. 

Be sure to pick up a copy of his newly-released book, Better Business: How the B Corp Movement is Remaking Capitalism.

Listen for Marquis insights on:

  • Why and how the B Corp movement started, and how it has evolved—today encompassing 3,522 companies representing 150 industries, across 74 countries
  • Why pursuing the triple bottom line is better for business, and how companies large and small, global and local, are focusing or refocusing operations, culture, and innovation on it
  • How business, capitalism, and stakeholder relationships have changed since Friedman’s statement, and what the future holds for companies that commit to serve all stakeholders—not just shareholders

Links & Notes

  • 00:00 – Welcome to Purpose 360
  • 00:44 – Introducing to Chris Marquis – Cornell
  • 02:29 – Chris’ New Book
  • 07:25 – Chris’ Background in B-Corps
  • 09:49 – Writing the First Case
  • 11:06 – The Movement’s Potential
  • 13:35 – What Is a B-Corp?
  • 17:45 – Why Patagonia Is So Impressive
  • 20:31 – Smaller Companies
  • 23:05 – Natura and Acquisitions to Evolve Culture
  • 27:35 – Increased Accountability
  • 31:30 – B-Corps in China
  • 34:17 – The Role of Young People
  • 38:30 – B-Corp Lessons for Big Companies
  • 40:59 – The Playbook
  • 42:25 – Creating an Internal Shift
  • 44:42 – Creating a Movement
  • 48:26 – Movement Growth Fears
  • 50:46 – Citizen Voices
  • 53:47 – Dreams for Chris’ Book
  • 55:12 – Three Insights
  • 57:10 – Wrapping Up

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Business is an unlikely hero: a force for good working to solve society's most pressing challenges, while boosting bottom line. This is social purpose at work. And it's a dynamic journey.

Purpose 360 is a masterclass in unlocking the potential of social purpose to ignite business and social impact. We illuminate the growing impacts of purpose, from engaging employees and fostering deeper consumer loyalty to inspiring product innovation and increasing market share.