Reflections on the B Corp Champions Retreat

Having recently returned from this year’s Champions Retreat in Vancouver, Canada, a conference for B Corps, and settled back into work mode, I flipped through the notes I took from the conference and thought about how we at Ingage can continue to make progress on our commitment to make positive impacts on people and the planet, while ensuring financial sustainability. The B Impact Assessment, the tool through which all B Corps have been certified, is a roadmap for measuring and improving positive impact performance on the topics of environment, communities, customers, suppliers, employees, and shareholders. The conference touched on several topics that were good reminders to challenge ourselves to use the assessment to set big, hairy audacious goals.

Purpose and intentionality run deep in all the Champion Retreats that I’ve been to over the years. Not only did this year’s annual theme, “Restore”, show up in the plenary and breakout sessions, but what was more impactful are the small details that reinforce key messages. For example, people from the Musqueam, Squamish, or Tsleil-Waututh Nations were present throughout the conference as speakers representing their B Corp business, session leaders, performers and formed part of an Indigenous Marketplace that featured local artisans. 

Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) are one of the pillars of the B Corp movement and are essential if we want to succeed in making business a force for good. As B Lab CEO Jorge Fontanez shared at the conference, moving the needle on JEDI is about coalition building. It’s about cultivating BIPOC leaders and providing opportunities for BIPOC-led organizations to thrive. He also remarked that the B Corp movement is about trying to move away from exploitative and extractive practices and that systems change is about change in relationships. If we want to build an economic system that is beneficial for everyone and not just a few, then this requires us to think differently in terms of how we build leadership among women and people of color and how we can intentionally provide a platform for people from underrepresented groups to thrive in business.

Growth and leadership-building are larger goals for Ingage this year. There is a new opportunity to set ambitious goals that will inspire those within and outside of Ingage. Our team is working to renew its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion by using the B Impact Assessment to consider improvement opportunities and to set ambitious goals on this topic. As an organization that began with a vision to be a model of business for good, we are more committed than ever to continue making progress on our purpose.

Ingage Partners is Ohio’s oldest Certified B Corp since 2011. Learn more about B Corp certification, what it takes and the value on the B Corp website and join the Using Business for Good group on LinkedIn to be a part of the Tristate community of businesses and supporters. We also encourage you to connect with us on LinkedIn and Facebook