Five LatAm B Corps Using Business as a Force for Good

Maria Saldarriaga and Pedro Mejia · October 1, 2020
B Corps
Image Credit: Beehive PR

Certified Benefit Corporations, or B Corps, are companies that give equal importance to sustainability and profit. They understand and believe that as businesses, they have the responsibility to create value and prosperity for all. B Corps’ perspective on business is drastically different than a company focused purely on profits, as they believe they should be a force for good more than just a way to sell goods and services.

The first generation of B Corporations was certified in 2007 with 19 companies from the United States. Today there are more than 3,500 from 74 countries and all industries are represented. Renowned B Corps include: WeTransfer, TOMS, Danone, Patagonia, Ben & Jerry's, AllBirds, Lemonade, and Singularity University, among others.

To obtain the B Corp Certification, companies have to pass an exhaustive audit by B Lab. Organizations who complete the test are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment. Becoming B Corp certified is not considered charity work - it’s a way of committing to do better business.

In LatAm alone there are more than 750 B Corps, a movement first led by Sistema B in 2012. The initiative has become so powerful in the region that legislation has been changed in some countries like Colombia and Chile in order for companies to be legally constituted as a B Corp.

Below are five B Certified companies in LatAm that are highly impactful and driving change in their industries.

Natura

This multinational Brazilian cosmetics company has a presence in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, and France. In the Brazilian market, they are the leading direct-selling player with more than 1.8 million consultants and have the largest market share in the beauty and personal hygiene sector. Natura prides themselves on being conscious about well-being and sustainable development by cultivating better relationships with nature and the communities they serve and impact.

Joao Paulo Ferreira, the company’s Chief Executive Officer, said that, “Helping to protect the Amazon is not just about ideals. We’re talking about economic value.”

Natura's tag line is “Bem Estar Bem,” which means “Well Being Well”. They constantly receive B Corp awards called “Best for the World” for their impact on the environment and changemaker efforts.

República del Cacao

Republica del Cacao is a chocolate company out of Ecuador. They create authentic Latin American chocolate by working via a direct alliance with suppliers, thus eliminating intermediaries and managing projects that guarantee triple impact (social, environmental, and economic) in their value chain. By doing this, they guarantee chocolate of high quality and traceability.

Over 85% of the world’s finest cacao comes from Latin America and Ecuador is responsible for 70% of this production. Since the company’s creation in 2005, Republica del Cacao has grown to be distributed globally and they believe that the B certification is part of the strategic vision of sustainable business, ensuring that business growth reflects their impact purpose.

Crepes & Waffles

Crepes & Waffles is a Colombian casual restaurant chain that exclusively employs single mothers to operate and run their restaurants. They also work hand in hand with Colombian farmers to promote the regeneration of ecosystems responsible for protecting the country’s natural resources while simultaneously offering dishes and preparations that connect clients with their roots using the best locally sourced products available. They have over 115 restaurants operating under this purpose in all of LatAm with more than 5,600 employees.

Lumni

Lumni is a Chilean-Colombian financial services company dedicated to ensuring that students everywhere can leverage their potential to access financing for college. Unlike traditional student lenders, they align the interest of their investors and students in a win-win relationship that benefits everyone.

Lumni's investment funds don't focus on loans. Instead, students enter into a shared income agreement where they set aside a fixed percentage of their income for years after their graduation. This significantly reduces the risk of being unable to make payments after graduation in the case of unemployment and ultimately encourages debt-averse and underserved college students to seek a better future.

According to Felipe Arango, Lumni’s Head of Sales, the company has served over 12,000 students with more than $60M deployed over 15 years.

Increase

Increase is an Argentinian platform that simplifies and modernizes the way merchants and companies understand and manage their income. Their mission is to help businesses become better businesses by simplifying processes and automating tasks.

Increase views the economy as a place where businesses are the engine for prosperity, where companies can optimize their processes and improve their competitiveness thanks to access to better technologies. In 2019, they were selected by B Corps as a Best for Workers company due to their efforts to prioritize their workforce through employee-focused efforts, from inclusive hiring practices to employee ownership.

As Maru Buteler, Increase’s Chief Culture Officer said in an interview, “The motivation of the team ceased to be a luxury to become the greatest need of any company that wants to make a difference.”

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