“Remember — social change is a team sport.” These words from B Lab Co-Founder Jay Coen Gilbert came near the end of a day-long gathering to honor business leaders working every day for social change, and to provide a forum to hear where these leaders see the biggest opportunities and challenges for pushing that change forward.
The Best for the World Gathering, held by B the Change Media in conjunction with the Haas School of Business and the Center for Responsible Business, brought these leaders of social change together with a crowd of likeminded, impact-oriented business minds, journalists, community members and students at the University of California, Berkeley, on Sept. 8, 2016. The day was part-celebration of the businesses who have earned the title of Best for the World based on a rigorous assessment of their companies’ impact on people, communities and the planet. The gathering was also part team building, in an effort to, indeed, help all business leaders who seek social change join forces and open conversations about the next steps forward.
The event’s evening portion was the Best for the World Awards Ceremony, during which time the audience heard from several Best for the World honorees about why doing business in a more meaningful way has been the only way to do business for their enterprises. The evening portion was launched with a performance by W. Kamau Bell, pictured above, which he ended by requesting Jostein Solheim, CEO of Ben & Jerry’s and speaker at the event, to name ice cream flavor “Kamau Cream.” Turns out, Bell’s first job was in a Ben & Jerry’s scoop shop! The evening was rounded out with music and dancing, thanks to the performance of Playing for Change.
Below are some photos and quotes of wisdom from the day. You can learn more about Best for the World companies, including see the full list, at our online Best for the World hub and in the inaugural Best for the World issue of B Magazine, on newsstands Sept. 27, 2016.
Your company can become a force for good when you download our FREE Special Report, Companies That Make a Difference: Innovative Businesses Receive Honors as Best for the World in 2016.
“We are in a time of seismic shift toward how business is done to a better way,” said Deval Patrick, former Governor of Massachusetts and current Managing Director in Impact Investment at Bain Capital, in an interview with Laura D’Andrea Tyson, Professor of Business Administration and Economics Director, Institute for Business & Social Impact at Berkeley-Haas. “If you believe in long-term value, I don’t think it’s possible to manage to the financial bottom line alone.”
“It’s bullshit that businesses don’t have a responsibility to the world,” said Patagonia CEO Rose Marcario in an interview with Robert Strand Ph.D., executive director and lecturer with the Center for Responsible Business at Berkeley-Haas.
“We have to expand our consciousness to value life more than money,” said Judy Wicks, author of Good Morning, Beautiful Business. “We have to find ways to grow that are not material.” And later: “To me, business is about relationships. Money is simply a tool.”
“Do you know where your money spends the night? If you knew, would you be pleased or proud?” asked Vince Siciliano of Best for the World New Resource Bank as part of the panel “Investment for Change.”
“Don’t use the pursuit of perfection as an excuse for not taking action,” said Jostein Solheim, CEO of Ben & Jerry’s. And later: “You have to think about the emotional. You have to think about how people feel.”
“You spend a hell of a lot of time at work. If it doesn’t have a big purpose, one has to ask why you’re there,” said Kim Jordan, co-founder of New Belgium Brewing Co., part of the second panel “What I’ve Learned About Leadership: Leading Toward Legacy.”
“We’ve got to have more businesses go through the stages of scale and become better businesses over time,” said Adam Lowry, co-founder CEO of Ripple Foods, as part of the first panel, “What I’ve Learned About Leadership: Leading for Growth.”