Shared values and a culture of business for good

Posted: 26 April 2021, in News

A joint blog by Elle Adams, Impact Culture Lead and Interim Programme Manager, Scotland CAN B and Duncan Thorp, Policy and Public Affairs Manager, Social Enterprise Scotland

Book your free places at “Business as a force for good: connecting impact-driven entrepreneurs”. #SharedValues

Elle Adams: At Scotland CAN B we have a catchphrase, which is that “whoever you may B… your impact matters”. It’s catchy and it sticks because it’s true. Over the last 3 years since the inception of Scotland CAN B, we’ve built upon the strong heritage of our founding partners at B Lab and the B Corp movement, to broaden out our focus and mission to explore how we might build a nationwide culture of business as a force for good in Scotland, as a catalyst for place-based economic systems change. 

This work has brought us in close relationship with a whole spectrum of organisations and businesses working to create social and environmental wellbeing in Scotland. From Social Enterprises with asset locks, to Zebras developing innovative and inclusive finance models, businesses introducing employee ownership and other inclusive governance models plus certified B Corps who meet the highest standards of social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. From whichever angle you approach it it’s clear there’s a groundswell of inspiring, more accountable approaches to business that are gaining traction in Scotland and beyond.

We’ve also turned our attention towards engaging Scotland’s extensive entrepreneurial support ecosystem, and developed the ‘Impact Economy Advisors Training’ to help build on this groundswell. This programme is specifically designed for business support professionals who wish to leverage their skills towards helping the businesses they support understand, measure and manage their impact across all of their stakeholders, and towards both Scotland’s National Performance Framework (NPF) and the Global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

As we witness the tide turn globally towards an emphasis on environmental, social and governance accountability, the race to Net Zero and with COP26 hosted in Glasgow on the horizon, it’s an exciting moment for Scotland. We’re well positioned to provide a leading, tangible example of what a nation of businesses embracing their vital role in building a wellbeing economy looks like in practice.

In a time where converging crises call us to champion our shared values and work together towards a shared goal, Scotland CAN B is committed to fostering cross-sector collaboration and building coherence in approaches to impact measurement and accountability. This is so that every business in Scotland understands the unique and vital contribution they have to make.

We’re delighted to be partnering with Social Enterprise Scotland to host our exciting webinar, where together we’ll take the opportunity to explore and build on these shared values, towards growing Scotland’s leadership in building a culture of business for good.

Duncan Thorp: It’s great to be working with Scotland CAN B again. Our first joint event was held at the B Corp Finisterre in Edinburgh a couple of years back. “How can Social Enterprises and B Corporations work together?” allowed social entrepreneurs to meet with B Corp business leaders and other impact-led businesses for the very first time. 

The aim was to build new relationships and better understanding between the various pieces of the ethical business jigsaw across Scotland. We saw a real coming together around the recognition of “shared values”, while also building understanding around the differences between these various business models.

Since then the world has changed, most notably with the climate emergency and global pandemic. We also have exciting new developments like Scotland’s Corporate Challenge, being launched by Social Enterprise Scotland, plus a big policy drive towards fair work and the real Living Wage.

Scotland has a well established culture of inclusive and innovative business. From the Fenwick co-operative over 200 years ago to the modern forms of social enterprise and employee owned businesses, we frequently lead the way. 

New and young entrepreneurs are increasingly questioning the old ways of doing business. They want something more – they want purpose. But how can the various business models work together to achieve our common aims? How do we build an inclusive, wellbeing economy and more equal society?

Learning, building understanding and making new connections is now even more important as we seek to tackle major global challenges and “build back better” after lockdown. There’s so much exciting possibility in bringing together these different strands and we look forward to seeing where our joint journey takes us.