Byron to Bundy B Corps is a new local networking opportunity – part of the global B Corp movement which certifies businesses who want to “do good” for staff, community, customers and the environment. We talked with Byron to Bundy co-founder Timothy O’Brien about his new adventure.

Q.  How would you explain B Corp to a business person who knows nothing about it?

A.  B Corp certifies that you are a good business. It facilitates transparency, as it ensures that a business is authentic when it makes a claim around its contribution to its staff, community, customers and the environment.

It’s a bit like what fair-trade is to coffee. However, it covers all aspects of your business.  It’s a very helpful framework that enables you to run your business in a responsible way.

It’s also the perfect shortcut to ensure you are buying from, investing in or working for some of the best companies in the world such as Patagonia, Stone & Wood, Ethique and Outland Denim.

Q.  How did your own company start on the path to B Corp certification? Was there a trigger, a moment of revelation?

A.  Hatched had been working with the B Corp community since it came to Australia. Back then it answered some big questions I was exploring about how business can make a contribution beyond just profit. Having worked in traditional business environments, it clearly was not enjoyable and very short-sighted.

Seeing B Corps at the time and the huge success they were having just made complete sense to me. Not only can you do good and make money, but you can actually make money by doing good.

Also, I hear this from so many B Corps: as soon as you find the B Corp movement, you find your tribe.  Developing a new way to do business is hugely rewarding, yet it can also be lonely pioneering, so finding, sharing and exploring this with other likeminded people is so important.

As the Founder of Hatched, I used the B Corp framework to set up the company in February of 2016 which enabled my business to build impact into everything we do.  What Hatched does is use our purpose program to literally design impact into other business.  It’s like strategy, but better. We wanted to ensure we were authentic and had a measure of our impact.  It was a proud moment to see us recognised in the B Corp Best For The World lists for the impact we’ve had.

Q.  Tell us about your new Bryon To Bundy community.

A.  The Byron to Bundy region has so many businesses doing extraordinary things. For some reason, we’ve fallen behind other areas [around the world] in growing the movement.  I just think people don’t know about it.

So working with the foundational B Corps like CSNet, and with my co-conspirator Luke from Sponge, we decided to put some energy into it and started Byron To Bundy. Our goal is to make this the fastest growing region in the world for purposeful business.

This community isn’t just for B Corps, it’s for anyone who wants to find out more about how to be a good business. The best way to do that is to learn from amazing businesses in this region and connect with individuals who are doing it.  There are meetups, networking events, webinars and social media channels to connect and share.  This buzz is growing with over 100 people attending our last event.

Our ask is simply for anyone interested to do 3 simple things:

  1. Sign up the Bryon To Bundy mailing list at www.byrontobundy.com to ensure you get updates
  2. Send the link to anyone you know who can’t miss out on being part of the community.
  3. Attend an event, and if you do, bring a least 1 other person

Q.  You’re putting on a lot of events. How do you take people beyond the traditional networking talkfest?

A.  Just like a B Corp business, we choose to run the events in a different way. It’ll mostly feel different, open, accessible, friendly and hopefully be inspiring. One thing for sure is that you’re guaranteed to learn something.

The other unique aspect is because this isn’t an industry-specific event, there are businesses from every industry. Whoever you bump into, stand next to, I can guarantee you’ll have an interesting conversation.

Q.  What about companies that are interested in sustainability but not necessarily going for B Corp certification. Is there a role for them in the B Corp universe?

A.  Absolutely. This is fundamental to the Byron To Bundy community.

Our first principle is that anyone and everyone is welcome. Bring your grandma if she is interested. It’s for any company, organisation or individual that seeks to make a contribution to a social, cultural or environmental challenge. In order to transform the entire system, everyone – us, governments, charities, media and investors – have to redesign our economy.  So come and make change happen.

Q.  Many governments around the world seem focused on ideology, point scoring and short term wins, rather than the longer term challenge of building a sustainable economy. Can businesses really take up the slack?

A.  We actually had a recent conversation with the now-former Prime Minister on this very challenge. Navigating this tension as a business or government can be difficult, but it shouldn’t be. My belief is that everyone needs to make a contribution and take up the slack, because it’s very, very loose right now.

We are facing some of our most significant challenges as a human race. People have lost trust and faith in traditional institutions and are not just looking to business to make a contribution but expecting it, particularly the amazing younger generation coming through. There’s no longer an ability to ignore or even make a trade-off. If you do, you’ll compromise on your current and future customers, investors and staff.

The exciting part is that businesses who are taking up the slack are the ones who are growing, attracting better talent, investment, customers and attention. So, my question is: why wouldn’t a business want to?

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