Changing policy

There’s a better way to do business. Our mission is to make sure that directors of every single company in the European Union, whether big or small, are mandated to consider in their decision-making process the interests of all of the company’s stakeholders – including wider society and the environment – and not only shareholders.

How business can advocate for action

To tackle society’s most pressing issues, we need to go beyond voluntary individual business transformation to a world where all businesses take into account their impact on people and the planet. B Lab drives the creation and implementation of policy work pushing for meaningful legal change around corporate accountability and social and environmental impact.

From advocating for “benefit corporation” corporate structures to be recognized across nations to pan-European efforts, B Lab’s policy initiatives advocate for a global shift from shareholder primacy to stakeholder governance.

What is stakeholder governance?

A stakeholder is an individual, a group or an entity that has an interest in and /or is affected by the decisions of a company. So at the narrowest definition, it is the close contributors to the company – employees, investors, suppliers.  But often forgotten is the natural environment, the communities it serves or shapes in some way, the customers. 

Note an investor, (usually a shareholder) is also a stakeholder. 

In economies where the shareholder interest is the dominant or – at extreme, is the only interest considered  – this would be defined as shareholder capitalism. Conversely, B Lab advocates for a shift towards stakeholder governance: an economy where the dominant approach is to consider the interests of all stakeholders equally.

Most economies sit somewhere on the spectrum.

Interdependence Coalition

B Lab Europe launched the Interdependence Coalition in 2021 with the ambition to change company law at a European level, so we can truly unleash the power of business to be the force for good. Influencing policy across the region is a long-term ambition that will require time, evidence, and strength in numbers.

More than 100 businesses and organizations have now joined the coalition, upholding the values of stakeholder governance in the way they run their companies and helping us strengthen the case for business as a force for good. 

  • Build a strong case

    for stakeholder governance and management through research and case studies from companies that are leading the way.

  • Demystify the concept

    of stakeholder governance and management and equip more businesses with resources to engage their directors.

  • Build a coalition

    of leaders across business, academia, law, policymaking, and environmental practice to speak with one voice on the changes we seek in the world.

windmills landscape

Latest Update

windmills landscape

The EU Commission consulted on the remit and scope of sustainable corporate governance regulations in February 2021. The Commission was expected to adopt a proposal in June 2021 but we are still waiting. it has now been delayed for the third time and so far no revised date or explanation has been announced.

On the 31st of January 2022, the Interdependence Coalition will host a webinar on the topic and propose a campaign strategy to ensure we do not miss this window of opportunity to change the rules of the game for business across Europe!

The Role of Benefit Corporations

What?

A benefit corporation is a legal tool to create a solid foundation for long-term mission alignment and value creation. It protects company missions through capital raises and leadership changes, creates more flexibility when evaluating potential sale and liquidity options, and prepares businesses to lead a mission-driven life post-IPO.

Why?

Stakeholder governance ensures that the actions of a company must benefit all stakeholders — customers, employees, suppliers, communities, and investors. Advocating for “benefit corporation” corporate structures to be recognized across nations through policy changes is key to transforming the way business operates.

Recognizing Benefit Corporations in legislation across Europe

B Lab and the B Corp movement have helped promote the passage of benefit corporation legislation in 50+ jurisdictions around the world, including the following initiatives across Europe:

  • Italy

    Back in 2016, Italy became the first European state and the second country in the world to create a new legal status for companies, called “Società Benefit.” After several Chambers of Commerce rejected attempts of B Corps to restructure their Articles of Association, a new legal form of company was created for which the corporate governance rules were modeled after the Public Benefit Statute from Delaware, US.

  • France

    Société à Mission is the French legal framework in which businesses pursue a set social and environmental purpose with specific sustainability goals. These companies need to create a Mission Committee responsible for monitoring progress made towards achieving these objectives and appoint an independent third party to verify that the mission is carried out. The number of Société à Mission has jumped by 42% since the end of 2020.

  • Spain

    In Spain, some initiatives are in development to achieve the legal recognition of purpose-driven companies (Sociedades de Beneficio e Interés General – SBIC). A Green Paper on Purpose Companies has been published by Fundación Gabeiras, jointly with B Lab Spain and more than 30,000 people have signed a petition to introduce a legal form of benefit corporations “Empresas Con Propósito”.

  • Switzerland

    With the aim of engaging an even broader set of organizations to use business as a force good with the support of the Swiss B Corp community, B Lab Switzerland initiated the Swiss Triple Impact in 2020, a national engagement program. In addition, The Swiss government’s Public Procurement Act sets obligatory sustainability criteria for all of its 27 states. Lab Switzerland successfully got the B Corp certification to be a recognized sustainability label.

B Corps that are vocal on policy

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Partners in policy

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The Good Lobby

The Good Lobby is a non-profit civic start-up committed to equalizing access to power for a more plural, inclusive and democratic society.

Global Reporting Initiative

GRI (Global Reporting Initiative) is an independent organization that helps businesses take responsibility for their impacts.

ShareAction

ShareAction works to define the highest standards for responsible investment and to drive change until these standards are adopted worldwide.

Contact Us

Interested in collaborating on policy initiatives across Europe? Get in touch!