Chapter 5Creating a Movement…A Unifying Business Purpose

Jay Coen Gilbert

Co-Founder, B Lab and B Corporations

Jay Coen Gilbert and his good friends Bart Houlahan and Andrew Kassoy came together in 2006 to found what today is the B Corporation movement. They each deeply cared about the role business should play in the community and make the world better for those who work for the companies, buy goods and services, and interact within the communities where companies reside.

To say that Jay alone or Bart and Andrew created the B Corporation concept and movement would not be entirely true, as Jay would relive the early days. The founders began to interact with groups of entrepreneurs and social investors who were very interested in how their businesses could be a force for good. Through private meetings, conferences, and other business connections, they realized there was a growing community of for-profit enterprises whose leaders were yearning to come together for something much bigger than just networking. This group was looking to scale up and address some of the biggest social and environmental problems of the day, but struggled with how to make it a reality.

Jay and his co-founders realized that the community they sought to have could be formed, but it would need standards for measuring how well they were doing the good they claimed to be doing. These companies could publicly claim they were doing good or addressing a social issue without backing it up. They had no common ...

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