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Better Capitalism in Action - The B Team & B4IG

In a previous post, we featured two CEOs, Emmanuel Faber and Paul Polman, who have initiated changes within large corporations toward a more sustainable and equitable business model. As well as leading these companies, both men are involved in organizations that are creating paths toward mutual economics around the world. The B Team and B4IG are two such groups.

Image Credit: CEO Magazine | The B Team Australasia members, left to right: Geoff Lloyd, Susan Lloyd Hurwitz, Catherine Tanna, Richard Branson, Lynette Mayne, Ann Sherry, Radek Sali

Co-founded in June of 2013 by Sir Richard Branson (Founder, Virgin Group) and Jochen Zeitz (CEO, Harley-Davidson), The B Team began as a group of business and civic leaders who met to discuss how the private sector could address pressing global economic problems. Looking at the currently pervasive corporate model of profit above all else, these leaders agreed that a new framework was needed, one that would benefit all involved while addressing environmental issues as well.

Based on the group's trifold compass of Sustainability, Equality, and Accountability, The B Team is currently in the middle of a five-year plan to "commit business to an economic future that serves all people." To this end, they began initiatives to achieve goals in the following areas:

  • The Environment: leading their own companies and encouraging others to work toward reducing their negative environmental impact;

  • The Workplace: creating and maintaining equitable working conditions both in the office and factory, and eliminating forced and unsafe labor practices in their supply chains;

  • Corporate & Civic Governance: fostering transparency and eliminating corruption, adopting responsible corporate tax systems, and driving support for civic rights in all countries.

The B Team's goals are further shared in their publication, The New Leadership Playbook, a collection of stories and insights on current and future business leadership. "Nothing about the inherent nature of business dictates that irreversible environmental damage, poor labor standards, and conformity in leadership are prerequisites to profit," it states. "It's time we catalyze a new leadership model that places humanity at its heart. Successful stewardship of our business can exist alongside responsible stewardship of our communities and planet." This is Partnership Economics at work!

A second and equally impressive organization is B4IG, which stands for Business for Inclusive Growth. The organization is a partnership between major global corporations and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). B4IG has pledged to "pool and strengthen efforts by private companies to reduce inequalities linked to opportunity, gender, and territory, and to build greater synergies with government-led efforts." They are leading these efforts in three key areas:

  • Advancing Human Rights: which focuses on eliminating child and forced labor;

  • Building Inclusive Workplaces: which aims at limiting the risk of long-term unemployment among certain categories of employees and supporting the development of digital skills;

  • Developing Inclusive Value Chains & Ecosystems: which sets a goal of ensuring a living wage for all workers and facilitating access to goods and services for less advantaged persons and groups.

There has already been progress made in each of these areas by various members. For instance, Sodexo and Vinci have helped to develop an ethical corridor between India and the UAE to advance fair recruitment practices. Salesforce has provided resource tools to help companies develop an inclusive workforce, initially focused on ethnic diversity. And Unilever and Loreal are guiding other companies on how to develop a living wage for their direct employees and workers in their supply chain. This is Partnership Economics at work!

There is more to share about what these two and other organizations are doing to promote mutually beneficial economics, and we will continue to feature such efforts in future posts. Meanwhile, as the B4IG website puts it, these initiatives are not just good corporate citizenship; they are the future of successful business.

Indeed! Such initiatives spring from an underlying ethic of mutuality (remember: self-interest + others interests) as we introduced and described in Better Capitalism through the weaved voices of Jesus, Adam Smith, Ayn Rand, MLK Jr., and others. Newer voices are emerging daily, as they discover and embrace this ethic of mutuality. Each such voice and ensuing initiative is also another Partnership Economics rock that adds to the growing avalanche of better capitalism, in support of a greatly improved world and human experience. What’s your voice and initiative and rock to add? Let us know. We’d love to hear and share about your efforts.

What about you? Share your story, question, comment, idea, disagreement -- yes, we welcome disagreement for the sake of mutual benefit! -- with us at We will give a thoughtful response.

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