We’re thrilled to share that, for the second year in a row, GECA is one of the Best For The World™ B Corps of 2022! B Corps must have scored in the top 5% of one or more of the five impact areas assessed for certification to be Best For The World.
At GECA, we’ve excelled in the area of Governance. We’re incredibly proud of the governance structures we have put in place, as they ensure we are continually adhering to our values of integrity, independence and impact.
In the following article, B Lab Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand liken good governance to a lighthouse for lost ships.
The dawn of a new era of stakeholder governance
Referring to the system by which an organisation is controlled and operates and the mechanisms or rules by which it, and its people, are held to account, governance encompasses everything from ethics to risk management frameworks to compliance and administration processes.
Alongside the other four impact areas on which B Corps are measured — Workers, Community, Environment, and Customers — while Governance might not sound the flashiest, in many ways, it might just be the unsung hero of purpose-driven business.
Join us in taking a closer look at some of the movement’s top-scoring B Corps’ in the Governance impact area in our region and learn more about how they embed good business into their companies’ DNA.
The unsung hero of the purpose-driven business movement
The Governance impact area evaluates a company’s overall mission, ethics, accountability, and transparency through topics such as integration of social and environmental goals in employees’ performance evaluation, impact reporting and transparency, stakeholder engagement, and more.
In practice, that looks like measures such as:
• Establishing a Board of Directors to improve a company’s accountability, credibility and strategic management;
• Carrying out regular independent reporting to monitor and improve impact; and
• Making information about a company and its performance publicly and freely available.
These are all recognised as indicators of ‘doing good business’ in the B Impact Assessment (BIA), as they contribute positively to social and environmental impact.
Mission locked and loaded
We have established that stakeholder governance is a fundamental part of being a B Corp, a commitment to operating a business with purpose at the centre and a focus on all stakeholders. And ever since 2012, B Lab has been exploring formal ways to embed stakeholder governance in businesses across the region.
To certify as a B Corp, companies in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand must now meet the B Corp legal requirement, also known as the Mission Locked Impact Business Model under the BIA.
The Mission Locked legal requirement is a commitment to consider the impact of decisions on all stakeholders — employees, customers, suppliers, the community, and the environment — in all you do.
By implementing the B Corp legal requirement, a company protects and codifies its social purpose alongside its commitment to profit and against leadership changes, capital raises, or turbulent times.
No business without purpose
In our region, there are two clauses that a business must include in their Company Constitution to achieve and retain certification: a purpose statement and a stakeholder clause.
These two clauses embed and formalise that a company’s greater purpose is explicitly taken into account in their formal decision-making processes, ensuring that they pursue positive social, ethical and environmental objectives at every turn. It also signals to all stakeholders (e.g. investors, shareholders, employees and directors) that there is no business without purpose and that they are willing to be held publicly accountable for it.
Examples of how a company might devise their governance policies include:
• How do you engage your stakeholders in your mission?
• What ethics, policies, and practices do you follow in service of your mission?
• What company information do you make publicly available for all stakeholders to access?
These types of questions help to evaluate the role of positive social and environmental impact within a company’s policies and practices. It ensures that a company’s purpose statement and stakeholder clause are more than posters on an office wall. They are the fundamental basis for managing, growing and governing the business and its operations.
The benefits of good stakeholder governance
We know that workers are craving more purpose, flexibility, balance, and support in their jobs than ever before. We also know that consumers are putting enormous pressure on businesses to do and be better, demanding more from businesses they support, work for and invest in than ever before. And we know that businesses are using their power to address some of the world’s most critical issues and doing it to great effect.
But, how do they ensure they continue to create and push for this positive impact, even during turbulent times? You guessed it: good stakeholder governance.
Businesses now are expected to make transparency and accountability their ‘MO’ and refocus their attention on long-term, ethical value creation for all stakeholders.
More and more, a business’s long-term viability rests on its ability to meet the expectations of this growing cultural shift towards people, planet, and communities in practice.
B Corps enshrining impact through governance
Good governance practices and a robust mission significantly affect how people perceive companies from the get-go. GECA views their governance structures as their North Star, guiding their values of integrity, independence and impact.
GECA’s commitment to stakeholder engagement, trust, and transparency translates across all levels of the supply chain, from growers and manufacturers to retailers, procurement professionals, community groups, government agencies, and individuals.
“There’s never been a more crucial time for organisations to step up and embrace supply chain transparency,” said GECA’s Strategic Communications Manager, Kendall Benton-Collins.
“Invest in quality relationships across your whole supply chain by infusing your relationships with authentic dialogue, mutual respect and a spirit of inclusion.”
Robust and transparent governance structures are like lighthouses to lost ships — leading a business where it needs to go and shining a light on what matters; while simultaneously illuminating the path forward and keeping them accountable for every business decision made.
We’ve reposted this article with permission from B Lab Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand. You can read the original article here and join us in congratulating the 12 fellow B Corps from Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand named Best For The World in Governance.