B Corp Summit: a catalyst for change

corporate

B Corp Summit: a catalyst for change

The fourth European B Corp Summit just closed its doors after two days of inspiring panels, breakout sessions and networking opportunities against the backdrop of the UN Climate Change Summit. Almost 700 people, from 23 countries, met at Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ in Amsterdam, Holland.

Businesses have a responsibility to work together to build a more inclusive and regenerative economy. And the B Corp movement is a catalyst. We are proud to be a part of this movement as the first asset and wealth manager to be a certified B Corp.

Our teams from Switzerland and France were present and continue in their commitment  on our journey towards becoming a better B Corporation.


Fixing our future

Jay Coen Gilbert, co-founder of B Lab and the B Corp movement declared: “We don’t have much time left to make sure we can preserve our home not just for us but for future generations.”

So how do we get there?

“Incremental change is insufficient, individual change is insufficient. We need systemic change,” stated Jay. “We need to go from a culture of ‘more’ to one of ‘enough’”.

Incremental change is insufficient, individual change is insufficient. We need systemic change.

“This system change is going to be extremely hard”, he went on. But there’s hope. Entrepreneurs, companies, multinationals are becoming leaders of change. “When the business roundtable announced that they were committed to lead for the benefit of all stakeholders, things took another turn”, shared Jay.

But this is just the beginning. Now, we must see action.

This is why, in January 2020 B Lab will launch a partnership with the UN Global Compact, a free tool, the SDGs Action Manager, to help track how companies’ actions contribute to one or more of the SDGs.

Businesses’ role in the climate emergency

What role are big B Corp businesses playing as leaders of change? Here is what Patagonia and Ben & Jerry’s EMEA Managing Directors had to share.

“If I don’t move towards a more sustainable management, I hold my company back on opportunities“, shared Anuradha Chugh, Managing Director EMEA at Ben & Jerry’s. ”We know that as a business we have a role to stand and support the great activists and employ them within our company.” “We need to stand out because with more heads, it will easier to build a more sustainable future. This is the power of the B Corp community”.

If I don’t move towards a more sustainable management, I hold my company back on opportunities.

Ryan Gellert, General Manager, EMEA, from Patagonia declared: “We’ve got a decade to stabilise our planet.” “So now we need to step up and lead.” “We require legislative decisions and individual engagement.” Ryan Gellert believes “it is no longer enough to fund activism, it's time for Patagonia to weigh in themselves.” “Our mission statement is we’re in business to save our own planet.”

Our mission statement is we’re in business to save our own planet.

How to finance the change we seek

Members of the finance sector took to the stage to share experiences and discuss, from an investment perspective, the funding of sustainable projects.

CEO and Founder of Paper on the Rocks, Anna van Eijsden is looking at paper alternatives. She explained “there is a lot of risk aversion towards investing in impactful projects. Not a lot of people understand the risk needed.” But, “what investors don’t see is the risk of not investing in such projects.”

There is a lot of risk aversion. But not moving forward in innovation is a risk too.

Eva Wirtz, Director Business Banking at Triodos, a leading sustainable bank, shared “the bank started years ago and we are still here. Why? Because we always ask ourselves: Is the project we finance in line with our values? Is it a viable project? And is it worth doing it for the bank?” “Our role is not only financing but promoting change and putting people in contact. We believe in the relationships we create.”

Our Head of Corporate Sustainability at Lombard Odier, Ebba Lepage added: “We see our role [at Lombard Odier] as a thought leader, leading the change.” “We invest in sustainable business models because we believe they do good for the world and have good business models that will last.” 


Go low on Carbon

How can we address our carbon footprint? Companies shared their initiatives and challenges in tackling the issue.

Saskia Griep CEO and co-founder of Better Places, an eco-friendly travel company explained: “it took us two years to see how we could reduce our emissions.” “We saw that part of the solution was to increase the direct flights and invest in newer airplanes.” ”We also offset all our C02 emissions and impose on ourselves a carbon tax which we use to improve our supply chain and invest in renewables”.

If you don’t change fast enough you’re out of business.

Lewis Just is co-founder of the Eco Coin, a firm who reward sustainable actions by giving out “eco coins” that consumers can use to buy ecological experiences, services and goods. He posed the question: “How can we motivate organisations and individuals to become more sustainable? “Money is the best motivator.” With their app, you receive eco coins for a multitude of actions such as recycling a plastic bottle (10 eco coins), or opting to use a bike (15 eco coins). Then they can be spent in sustainable market places.


This is just the beginning

“Through the B Corp certification we have a good measure of what we have done so far in terms of sustainability, and it provides a useful part of our roadmap for going forward", shared Ebba Lepage, our Head of Corporate Sustainability at the Summit. She went on to say, “We are vocal about our engagement and the value of being a B Corp. We would be delighted if more wealth managers and banks would become B Corp certified."

We believe the future belongs to companies where management is truly convinced about the need to develop a business model that can deliver growth in a manner that prudently manages the firm’s social and environmental footprint – even if this requires major changes.

All those who attended the Summit are companies leading the beat towards systemic change by inspiring companies and individuals to do more for the planet and to ensure we create a better tomorrow for all.  Not at the expense of profit but in search of it in the future. We believe the future belongs to companies where management is truly convinced about the need to develop a business model that can deliver growth in a manner that prudently manages the firm’s social and environmental footprint – even if this requires major changes.

These are the Eagles. And we, at Lombard Odier, invest in them.

Important information

This document is issued by Bank Lombard Odier & Co Ltd or an entity of the Group (hereinafter “Lombard Odier”). It is not intended for distribution, publication, or use in any jurisdiction where such distribution, publication, or use would be unlawful, nor is it aimed at any person or entity to whom it would be unlawful to address such a document. This document was not prepared by the Financial Research Department of Lombard Odier.

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