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Bolivia's path to "B Corporations"


"There is no planet B, but there are "B Companies" that generate profits and that also create a social and environmental impact." (Laredo, 2020).


In 2006, in Berwyn, Pennsylvania (USA), a non-profit organization called B Lab was born, whose vision is to achieve an inclusive, equitable, and regenerative economic system for all people and the planet. This organization certifies "B Companies" for their contribution to the environment; these companies without giving up economic gain, contribute to the well-being of the community through projects and solutions, fulfilling the commitment to generate positive socio-environmental impacts, operating with high standards of performance and transparency. This is achieved by envisioning an economy where success is measured by the well-being of people, societies, and nature. In this way, being a "B Company" means demonstrating that it is possible to pursue a triple impact on society (economic, social, and environmental) simultaneously, with a commitment to permanent, legal, and long-term improvement.


To be certified as a "B Company", companies must measure their performance through Impact Assessment B in five areas that are influenced by the organization's action: its business model, governance, employment, environment, and community. The co-founder of Sistema B, María Emilia Correa (2018) pointed out that “companies can become B at any time, whether they are one or 100 years old and are small or large.” For this reason, there is a stage called "bependiente" (B pending), for all the companies that want to be B and that still do not have the capacity, but that in their annual strategy are generally aligned.


In the world, there are 3,943 companies certified as "B Companies.” Bolivia joins the countries that apply this business model with the recycled rubber flooring company Mamut (certified in 2019) and the water filter Bild (certified in 2015), which were the first to obtain their certification by combining economic profitability with social and environmental impact.

Alfredo Zepeda (2019), executive director of Chile's Sistema B, indicated that in Bolivia there are only two certified companies: Bild and Mamut, however, the interest of the companies is beginning to be noticed. "Bolivia has enormous growth potential in this business model, we believe that in a couple of years it will be a benchmark for others." Until the end of 2020, 15 Bolivian companies were carrying out the procedures to obtain the certification. Laredo (manager of the Mamut company) points out that "many Bolivian companies already develop impact projects, but they do not measure them."



Source: Sistema B (official website. May 2021)


Daniel Andrade, manager of the Bild Company, pointed out "companies have to be agents of change to get closer to our communities. It’s a challenge with a high level of innovation. (…) We firmly believe that companies should be agents of social change positive that generates an impact to improve the quality of life of people. It is possible to redefine the measure of success of a company to not just money but also the commitment to communities. "


Similarly, Manuel Laredo, general manager of Mamut, indicated: “We are a sustainable materials company for the creation of sustainable cities. We have seen that there was a problem with used tires in Bolivia so, through a non-traditional and innovative circular economy, we transformed them into shock-absorbing rubber floors that benefit the quality of life of people throughout Bolivia.”


Currently, Bolivia is on its way to own a greater number of companies classified as "B Companies" and join the rest of the world in the search for sustainability, without sacrificing its economic benefits and environmental protection.




References

BLAB. Official Website: https://bcorporation.net/about-b-lab

CAF [Banco de Desarrollo de América Latina]. (25/01/2017). “Empresas B”: redefinen el sentido del éxito en los negocios. Bolivia Emprende. Available at: https://boliviaemprende.com/noticias/empresas-b-redefinen-el-sentido-del-exito-en-los-negocios [Accessed 05/17/2021].

Cainco. (02/02/2019) “Empresas B”, nacidas para generar impacto. Empresa & Desarrollo. Available at: https://www.cainco.org.bo/empresaydesarrollo/2019/02/02/10000218/ [Accessed 05/14/2021].

Castel, J & Vásquez, W. (05/16/2018). Empieza el movimiento de las empresas de bienestar. Periódico La Razón. Available at: https://www.la-razon.com/lr-article/empieza-el-movimiento-de-las-empresas-de-bienestar/ [Accessed 05/15/2021].

Economy. (01/15/2019). Promueven el Sistema B en Bolivia para impulsar la economía de Triple Impacto. Available at: https://economy.com.bo/portada-economy/8-economy/negocios/1315-natura-promueve-en-bolivia-el-sistema-b-para-impulsar-la-economia-de-triple-impacto [Accessed 05/16/2021].

Journey Bolivia. (02/26/2020). “Empresas B”, un modelo que desafía a las “Empresas B”olivianas. Coca-cola Journey. Available at: https://www.coca-coladebolivia.com.bo/historias/medio-ambiente-empresas-b--un-modelo-que-desafia-a-las-empresas-bolivianas [Accessed 05/12/2021].

Journey Bolivia. (n.d.). Conoce la primera “Empresa B” de Bolivia y su compromiso por el acceso al agua potable. Coca-cola Journey. Available at: https://www.coca-coladebolivia.com.bo/historias/medio-ambiente-conoce-la-primera-empresa-b-de-bolivia [Accessed 05/17/2021].

Laredo, M. (02/28/2020). “Empresas B.” Diario Opinión. Available https://www.opinion.com.bo/opinion/manuel-laredo-g/empresas-b/20200228172217753720.html [Accessed 05/16/2021].

Sistema B. Official website: https://www.sistemab.org/


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