Over the past couple decades, social entrepreneurship has gained traction as a means to harness the power of business to solve social and environmental problems on a large scale. B Lab was founded in June 2006 as a nonprofit organization with the mission of creating a new sector of the economy that marries the power of the private sector with the purpose of the public sector. B Lab believes three interrelated initiatives are needed to advance this new sector of the economy: 1) creating a community of “B Corporations, 2) promoting “Benefit Corporation legislation,” and 3) developing the Global Impact Investing Rating Systems (GIIRS). This study uses a mixed-method research approach to assess if B Corps are socially, environmentally, and financially effective enterprises and to determine if B Lab is well positioned to create a new sector of the economy based on social enterprise. The quantitative data generated in this report includes a questionnaire completed by 178 socially responsible consumers and a separate questionnaire completed by 130 B Corp leaders. The qualitative data generated is based on 35 semi-structured interviews with B Corp leaders. The data suggests, as a whole, B Corps are socially, environmentally and financially effective enterprises. The study finds B Lab is well positioned to create a new sector of the economy if the organization can increase awareness and connect B Corps with impact investors.
|UNICEF's Plumpy' Nut Supply Chain|
|Jamii Bora and Kaputei Town - Affordable and Sustainable Housing for Urban Slumdwellers|
In late 1999, Ingrid Munro founded a microloan organization in Nairobi, Kenya with 50 women who had previously been desperate street beggars. The organization, “Jamii Bora” (which means “good families” in Kiswahili), is based on the premise that very poor people can lift themselves from poverty through saving and business development. It grew rapidly, in part because it employs only members and is thus able to quickly and appropriately innovate to respond to members’ needs. Because the majority of the Jamii Bora members live in deplorable conditions in Nairobi’s most dense and dangerous slums, the organization worked to create Kaputei, an innovative socially and environmentally-sustainable new town designed by members with their priorities at the forefront.
This case presents the challenges of a social venture that is preparing to scale. The case also presents the risks and hurdles inherent in creating a sustainable business in a developing country. Through this case, students may gain insight into both the challenges and significant opportunities in addressing the needs of low-income consumers in emerging markets.
Jones Christensen, Lisa; Thomas, Jessica
|Teaching Ethics Trends|
MBA programs are expanding their focus to examine the corporation’s ethical role in society (its corporate social responsibility, or CSR), as well as its role in maintaining an adequate quality and quantity of resources for future generations (its sustainability). The article presents findings of a survey examining the extent to which MBA programs are embracing these concepts. Its authors seek to identify trends in how ethics, CSR, and sustainability are integrated into MBA curricula at top business schools. Their findings suggest that, when it comes to making ethics, CSR, and sustainability courses mandatory, 84% of schools surveyed report that they require students to take courses addressing one or all of these topics. Other trends identified by the study include: there is significant institutional support dedicated to these topics; changes in teaching techniques and immersion programs are a cutting-edge feature in business education; and student involvement is a potential driver for some of these changes.
Jones Christensen and Peirce
|Systems Thinking for Sustainability|
Systems Thinking for Sustainability: A Decision-Support Approach for Electric Utility Executives Addressing Climate Change