Being a changemaker is not easy. It takes guts to stand up for something you believe in, look ridiculous, and keep listening to skeptics habitually predicting your doom.
We at Ecosia oftentimes feel that our unusual pledge to achieve environmental and social goals as well as business ones is on the receiving end of such incredulity more often than not. Because, when you think about how business works today, isn’t our decision to donate (at least) 80% of our profits or aspire to full transparency, well… “crazy”?
I dare say that you can tell ambitious social entrepreneurs by the shape of their heads – they’re flat on top for being patted patronizingly by heavyweight businesspeople. But this should by no means discourage anyone from taking a leap of faith! After all, when you’re in the trenches of starting your own company, pure persistence is one of the few assets you have. To build a global movement, however, you need much more than perseverance, you need to move beyond yourself.
Enter B Corporation. B Corp is to business what Fair Trade certification is to coffee or Stiftung Warentest rating is to toothpaste in Germany. Today, there is a growing community of more than 1,200 certified B Corps from 38 countries and 60 industries all pulling in the same direction: to redefine success in business. Together they encourage all companies to compete not just to be the best in the world, but to be the best for the world. How do they do it? Recycling books and fighting global illiteracy, designing outdoor apparel and stewarding the environment, or delighting customers with ice cream/coffee/chocolate and giving back to the community, to name but a few.
As many of you know, over a year ago Ecosia became the first B Corp in Germany and is a proud member of the European Founding Class. Last week at the launch of B Corp Europe in Amsterdam, we took a big step toward catching up with our U.S. peers, and we have even bigger plans moving forward. The long-term goal for the European branch of B Corps is to have certified 1,000 companies by 2017, and we’re stoked to see that this is well under way with 60+ companies already on board and 500+ currently going through the process.
Individually, our actions – on either side of the pond – create ripples that build a current to address society’s greatest challenges, but together we are building a new global economy that will influence the next generation of leaders to come. Systemic challenges require systemic solutions and the B Corp movement offers a highly scalable one. We at Ecosia strongly believe that business, the most powerful man-made force in the world, must contribute to environmental outcomes and create value for society, not just shareholders, and we’re ready to lead the way in Europe (and beyond). Vive la révolution!
This post was written by Piotr Drozd, Chief Operating Officer at Ecosia. His article also appeared here.