The difference between serving shareholders and stakeholders

Vestiaire Collective is the latest in a growing roster of fashion companies that have spent months teasing out company policies and practices to qualify for the highly regarded sustainability certification. How can others do the same?


Episode Summary

Traditional companies are built to serve their shareholders, whether public or private, by providing a service or producing a good. This exclusive focus on generating wealth for the end recipient has had devastating consequences for our natural environment, climate and the people who get left behind at best, or subjugated at worst. A core principle of sustainable business is shifting companies so that they serve everyone and everything they touch. From the ground on which their buildings or factories sit, to their supply chain companies, their own employees, and of course the communities in which they operate, these are all of the stakeholders to which businesses must be responsible. B Lab, a nonprofit organization, is providing a structured way for companies to undergo this transition. Joining us to share this amazing story are Katie Hill, CEO of B Lab Europe, and Marcel Behar, vice president of sustainability and group affairs of Natura & Co, a Brazilian cosmetics conglomerate and the largest public B Corp in the world.

Episode Notes

In this episode, you’ll hear about:

  • What is B Lab?
  • What are B Corps?
  • The legal change required for a company to become a B Corp.
  • The B Lab assessment .
  • Why a company would become a B Corp.
  • Positive effects of becoming a B Corp.
  • The backstory  of Natura &Co, whose brands include Avon, the Body Shop, and others.
  • Why it changed to a B Corp.
  • The great results of the switch.

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Guest Bios:

As CEO and chair of the Management Board of B Lab Europe, Katie Hill leads the roll out the B Corp movement across Europe, having set up the UK arm from its inception in 2015. Her previous experience as an economist was in social impact investment, European policy work with the UK government and then in Brussels. Running a social enterprise in Bulgaria for four years was something of a turning point and she returned to university – late in life to study for an MBA – with a determination to work to join the dots between equity, sustainability, business, and policy. It is very much work in progress and made more enjoyable by the phenomenal people from so many different walks of life, who are committed to the same goals.

Marcelo Behar is a sociologist and a lawyer graduated at University of São Paulo, in Brazil. He has worked in many NGOs and as a journalist on Foreign Politics at Folha de São Paulo. He served the Brazilian government in the Justice (as chief-of-staff and responsible for the Brazilian Disarmament Campaign) and Strategic Affairs (as vice minister) Ministries from 2003 to 2009. He is an executive since 2009, worked in infrastructure and joined Natura in 2013. He is currently the vice president of sustainability and group Affairs for Natura &Co, the global beauty group that comprises Avon, Natura, The Body Shop and Aesop and is committed to address the climate crises, protect the Amazon, defend Human Rights and embrace circularity, all by 2030.