South American countries face extraordinary challenges of severe inequality and poverty along with significant environmental degradation. Despite these challenges, a new generation of entrepreneurs is striving to create a positive impact through business. One company, CDI Ventures, turns the vast network of cybercafés in Brazil into an educational tool, while another, Triciclos, is installing recycling stations in communities throughout Chile and Colombia for citizens and companies to learn to recycle and become conscious consumers, acting to solve the problems of waste management.
Who are these new companies? They are Certified B Corporations (translated as Empresas B) and part of a global movement to redefine success in business. This new type of company uses the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. B Corporation certification is like like Fair Trade certification, but for the whole company, not just a bag of coffee.
South America’s social and environmental opportunities and needs are reflected throughout the diverse B Corp community. Several focus on economic empowerment and workforce development, such as Cerco, a Chilean construction company which provides quality workforce training to its employees, including incarcerated men who develop the necessary skills to enter the workforce upon release. Addressing deforestation in Colombia, Acción Verde is strategically planting trees throughout the country. Meanwhile a company named Ouro Verde Amazonia is sourcing sustainably harvested Brazil nuts from indigenous communities, preserving the environment and their way of life.
To help spread this better way to do business throughout South America, B Lab has partnered with Sistema B to support these entrepreneurs as they inspire others and build a more inclusive and sustainable world. There are now over 20 Empresas B in Chile, Argentina, Colombia and Brazil, and another 100 working towards certification.
However, the B Corp movement is far bigger than any individual company, region or country. Already, there are more than 650 Certified B Corps in 18 different nations: the United States, Canada, Mexico, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Colombia, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Turkey, Kenya, Mongolia, South Korea, India, and Australia. And while each company has its own unique and inspiring story, they are all joined by a common goal: to redefine success in business so that one day all companies compete to be not just the best in the world, but to be the best for the world.
To learn more about the global community of B Corporations, visit bcorporation.net.