What is in it for me? B Corporations as Pioneers of Corporate Social Entrepreneurship
“B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.” (B Corporation, 2019).
“B Corp is to business what Fair Trade is to coffee… They are businesses that give as much consideration to their social and environmental impact as they do to their financial returns.” (PWC UK, 2019).
B Corporations are a relatively new movement launched in the UK in 2015. Certified B Corporations strike a fine balance between profit and purpose, giving as much consideration to their social and environmental impact as they do to their financial returns. They meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability.
This project aims to explore the following questions:
- To what extent does B Corporation certification fundamental transform businesses to balance profit and purpose?
- To what extent does B Corporation certification deliver economic, social and environmental value at the firm level?
- To what extent does B Corporation certification help build public trust in corporations?
The project findings have the potential to make a significant impact on identifying transformational mechanisms for businesses to contribute to an inclusive and sustainable economy.
B Corporations appear to offer a positive solution to today’s social, economic and environmental problems, and to (re-)build public trust in the corporations, which has been in a significant decline in recent years.
The project will help B Corporations in understanding the transformation mechanisms of corporate social entrepreneurship and building public trust as well as further strengthen the B Corporation movement's role in building an inclusive and sustainable economy and society.
Meet the Principal Investigator(s) for the project
Professor Catherine Wang - I am a Professor of Entrepreneurship and Strategy at Brunel Business School, and the Director of the Centre for Entrepreneurship and Sustainability. Previously, I have also held academic posts at Royal Holloway, University of London, and Oxford Brookes University. Prior to joining academia, I worked in industry in the UK and China, in the areas of small business support and consultancy, and international trade and investment.
I am on the Editorial Boards of the British Journal of Management, the International Journal of Management Reviews, and the International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research. Previously, I was Co-Editor of the European Journal of Innovation Management. I am a Senior Member of the ESRC Peer Review College, and an Inaugural Fellow of the British Academy of Management Peer Review College. I have served as a Scientific Evaluator of a number of international grant panels in the UK, the US, Finland, Portugal, the Netherlands and Kazakhstan. I have also served as a judge of the European Business Awards and Sage Group Innovation Awards.
My research interests are in the areas of entrepreneurship, innovation and strategic management. In particular, I focus on how firms can turn strategic and entrepreneurial resources and capabilities into successful innovation and firm performance in commercial and social enterprises, mainly from the following perspectives:
- The resource-based view of the firm and dynamic capabilities;
- Entrepreneurial orientation;
- Entrepreneurial learning;
- Organisational ambidexterity;
- International entrepreneurship and innovation;
- Socially responsible and sustainable entrepreneurship.
I was a grant holder of two ESRC-funded projects. One of the projects studied how UK and Chinese high-tech firms can enhance their entrepreneurial capabilities and improve new product success rate either single-handedly or through international collaboration. The other project examined entrepreneurial orientation and growth potential of ethnic minority small firms in London. Through these projects, I have worked with government support agencies, community leaders, the media, and industry partners in both private and public sectors.
Related Research Group(s)
Strategy Entrepreneurship and International Business - Our themes of research range from entrepreneurial and internationalisation strategies of small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to inward and outward investment by large enterprises and supra-national governance.
Entrepreneurship and Sustainability - Our focus is on how individuals, businesses and societies can tap into creative and entrepreneurial flair to develop innovative solutions, in order to not only create economic value, but also solve social and environmental problems.
Partnering with confidence
Organisations interested in our research can partner with us with confidence backed by an external and independent benchmark: The Knowledge Exchange Framework. Read more.
Project last modified 14/12/2021