Q Visionaries Series: B Lab
As a driving force for social responsibility on a corporate level, co-founder Jay Coen Gilbert is changing business for the better.
B Lab supports the world’s leading entrepreneurs using business to solve social and environmental problems. Awesome companies like Warby Parker, Patagonia, and Method. They’re all B Corps. B for Better — better for their employees, better for their communities, better for the environment.
How he was driven to start an organization that enacts change:
If we want to solve our toughest problems, we need to harness the power of business as a force for good, because government and non-profits won’t get the job done alone.
One story of someone impacted by B Lab:
When Yvon Chouinard (the founder of Patagonia and a personal hero) told a group of B Corps, “this is the start of the revolution.” I’m not sure about a revolution, but I do think we’re witnessing the evolution of capitalism to a place in which companies compete not just to be the best in the world, but to be the best for the world.
The most significant thing he's learned through his work:
The team with the most superstars wins. The biggest trend of our lifetime is that the next generation isn’t looking for work-life balance; it’s looking for work-life integration. Businesses that allow us to bring our whole selves to work will attract the best talent.
How his life has been changed by his work:
I get inspired every day by entrepreneurs from around the world that are making money and making a difference. Bringing nutritious food to kids in low income public schools.
A typical day in his life:
His vision for the world:
I don’t have a vision for the world; I have a vision for what I hope my kids think of me. I hope they’ll remember that I felt fully used up, that I worked hard to spend the most time on what matters most — our family, our friends, our community, and making it more likely that more people can enjoy the same opportunities to reach their full potential as I have.
The B Lab accomplishment of which he's proudest:
We’re changing the rules of the game. In just the last two years, the community of B Corps has passed laws in 12 states to create a new kind of corporation that serves the best interests of society, not just the best interests of shareholders. A few weeks ago, nearly 300 B Corps from around the world gathered for a few days in California to discuss what they could accomplish together that they couldn’t accomplish alone. They left on fire.
It’s possible. Hard, but possible.
What individuals or other organizations he finds inspiring:
I admire giraffes — people who stick their necks out and don’t care how absurd other people think they look. My dad, Gandhi, MLK, Muhammad Yunus, Yvon Chouinard, Ben & Jerry, Judy Wicks.
The message he'd send the world with one request (in 140 characters or less):
Support @bcorporation #bthechange