Originally published at: https://bcorporation.com.au/blog/the-b-council-one-year-on/
This May marks one year since the very first gathering of the B Council: a crucial part of the B Lab Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand (AANZ)’s governance.
We often refer to B Corps as our community, as they are the businesses bringing B Lab’s standards to life every day. They drive the movement towards a more inclusive, equitable, and regenerative economic system forward with their work. Their voices are essential to the direction of B Lab, and to shaping the future of the movement.
The introduction of the B Council recognises this by creating a formalised voice for B Corps to B Lab AANZ. It serves as a vehicle for feedback from local B Corps, to ensure the direction of B Lab reflects the perspectives, values, and expertise of our whole community.
Over the past year, eight representatives from the B Corp community collaborated with B Lab AANZ to design the B Council — from its ways of working to how it would be accountable to the community. The passionate group volunteered to serve as the B Council for the next one to two years in order to bring its design into practice.
To mark the first official year, we spoke with peer-appointed Chair Fotini Kypraios about what role she sees the B Council playing in the future of the B Corp movement.
Image: Prisma Legal
Why did you first get involved in the B Council?
I am a qualified governance practitioner, a B Corp business owner and a professional that lives and breathes governance and community. The opportunity to be part of the inaugural B Council, and contribute to the formation of a unique and emerging governance structure that will add significant value to the local B Corp community, was so appealing that it could not be overlooked!
The B Corp community in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand is growing rapidly. Being part of the B Council has provided an opportunity to interact with the B Corp community in a way that supports this growth. This is a journey of learning, adapting and establishing sound foundations to move forward sustainably.
As a B Corp, what do you see as the greatest benefit of having a B Council?
Choosing only one is hard! Let’s settle at 4.
- Democratising the system: the B Council is the independent voice of the B Corp community. Establishing channels of communication in a structured way assures all voices can be heard.
- Staying on track: as a governance practitioner and a commercial lawyer, I come across misalignments of an organisation’s vision or mission with its activities way too often. In a way, the B Council is a safety net, an additional compass for the journey of the local B Corp community, as the movement grows.
- Advocating for members at a local level: the B Council will represent the interests of B Corp members in matters that affect them by providing an additional channel for engagement with B Lab AANZ at a local level.
- Interdisciplinarity: The B Council brings a combination of skills, experience, and diversity of thought into the emerging governance system of B Lab AANZ, which will continue to add significant value as we venture into the implementation of a new interactive governance system.
What role do you see the B Council playing in the year ahead?
The purpose of the B Council is to nurture the value and integrity of the B Corp community as a credible movement of business as a force for good. The B Council’s role is to provide guidance and feedback to the B Lab AANZ Board and act as a conduit for communication back to the B Corp community to support the growth of the movement’s impact, without compromising its integrity.
In the year ahead the B Council will seek to establish itself as a representative of the local B Corp community, opening channels of communication with B Corp members so that the B Council can commence open consultation in representing the interests of the B Corp community within the B Lab AANZ governance landscape.
Who is on the B Council?
Appointed based on expressions of interest, the B Council is made up of eight business leaders, representing the diverse range of industries and business sizes you’ll find in the B Corp community.
These eight change-makers have spent the past 12 months laying the foundations of the B Council. One year on, we thank the B Council members for their contribution to the B Corp movement and we look forward to continuing to create positive change together in 2023.
The B Council is still evolving as it enters into its first official year of existence. To get in touch with the B Council, including sharing comments, concerns, or feedback, email firstname.lastname@example.org
The B Council will be seeking new members at the end of 2023, to serve a two-year term. If you are interested in joining the B Council, you can express interest here.