The European headquarters is located in Amsterdam, because it is in the Netherlands that the number of Dutch B Corps (Benefit Corporations) is growing steadily. So Tony Chocolonely sells ‘100% slave-free’ chocolate, Moyee Coffee serves sustainable coffee, Dopper is reducing the ‘plastic soup’ with sustainable PET bottles. The later was partially responsible for the official kick-off of B Corp Europe.
The sustainability pioneers came together under the motto ‘Celebrate the Changemakers’. B Corp Europe’s first action was at the Triodos Bank, a bank that is strongly committed to a better world. A day later on 22 April, the group gathered in Amsterdam for a day of knowledge sharing. There were inspiring lectures, interactive workshops and a low threshold market where meeting each other was the main purpose.
The speakers included Marcello Palazzi (founder of B Lab Europe), Jacqueline Cramer (professor Sustainable Innovation), Jochanan Senf (director Ben & Jerry’s Europe) and Merijn Everaarts (founder of Dopper). The latter summed up the essence of B Corps very well. Everaarts: ‘I set up Dopper to contribute to a better world. Doing business with the goal of becoming rich does not fit the challenges of our world today. Getting the ball rolling, being transparent and cooperating does. B Corp confirms that a better world and enterprise go hand in hand.’
Tom Domen (Ecover) emphasizes the importance of innovation as ‘the key to everything’. At soap manufacturer, Ecover, this doesn’t mean they want to make cleaning products that are less harmful, but products that make a positive contribution. On the one hand by using recycled plastic, for instance, and on the other by paying attention to the corporate environment. This led to Ecover building a factory in a district in Chicago where employment was actually dropping. Vegetables are grown on the roof of this factory and a park has been built next to the factory.
B Corps show that ‘business as a positive force’ offers many opportunities. The growth figures prove the interest of the market. Whoever distinguishes himself with a sustainable product, lays the groundwork for future-proof business. In need of inspiration? Visit B Corp Europe for tips & tricks.
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