B Lab is the 501(c)(3) non-profit engine behind the benefit corporation and B corporation certification movement—designed to foster business that serves the community and environment in addition to pursuing profit. Founded in 2006, B Lab took the idea of impact-driven business out of abstraction and thrust into a working reality. One of its first major acts for the organization was drafting the B Impact Assessment—a tool that lets organizations and companies evaluate their impact. Another milestone was the approval of the first B Lab certification in 2007—which has paved the way to today’s 800 certified B corporations spanning 27 countries and 60 industries.
On a personal note, following the B/benefit corporation movement in 2011 was the early subject of Innov8Social’s exploration of social innovation. I had the pleasure of meeting Jay along with fellow co-founder Andrew Kassoy following the passage of AB 361—California’s benefit corporation legislation.
|Jay Coen Gilbert, Co-Founder of B Lab|
Talk shop with Jay for a few minutes and you will note that his stance on sustainable business is firmly rooted in pragmatism as well as possibility. His early career as an entrepreneur informs his approach to impact-driven business. Jay co-founded AND 1 an athletic footwear and apparel company which was later sold for $250M.
He has become one of the key spokesperson for the movement—-authoring articles on Huffington Post, Stanford Social Innovation Review, and speaking at TED talks.
By the time most people learn about a movement for change—it usually has already been long in the works—and it is its sheer momentum that draws new supporters. In talking to Jay, I wanted to learn more about the genesis of the idea that has turned into a movement as well as the path ahead involving adoption. He highlighted a key impetus for B Lab as the golden rule of doing unto others as they would have them do unto you—and applying that to business.
Listen to the Interview
Every 500 Years or So by Jay Coen Gilbert [Stanford Social Innovation Review]
Jay Coen Gilbert on Huffington PostJay Coen Gilbert on ForbesJay Coen Gilbert on Sustainable BrandsBenefit Corporation Info CenterDo-Gooder: Jay Coen Gilbert, Co-Founder, B Lab [Social Good Network]
Q&A with Jay Coen Gilbert, Co-Founder of B Lab [Philadelphia Generocity]