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Paige Vickers for Quartz

B corporations are pushing to change the way the world works

Cassie Werber
Member exclusive by Cassie Werber for The purpose of B Corps

There was a time when the only mention of a man’s family, during his long days of full-time work, was a single photograph propped at the edge of the desk. There was a time when women power-dressed and outperformed their way into traditionally male workplaces without so much as a whisper about the state of their mental health, or the fact they had a baby, an aging parent, or multiples of both, to care for at home. There was a time when economic growth was a goal pursued without any concern for the damage it might cause to the planet, and when suppliers were selected purely on the basis of price and without regard to their practices.

All these things are changing now.

Business is experiencing a dawning recognition that the way capitalism has worked in the past may no longer be fit for the future, and that the idea of companies maximizing growth strictly for the benefit of shareholders is creating problems only a giant jolt to the system can solve. In just one example of this shift, in 2019 the Business Roundtable, an influential group of US corporate leaders, reworded its statement on the purpose of companies: They should no longer focus only on shareholder return, the group says, but also on communities, customers, employees, and the environment.