I recently spoke with David Chiu (President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors) about B Corporations. He talked about legislation he helped pass in San Francisco, his thoughts on the convergence of government and the private sector, and his secret “non-green” habit.
I was very intrigued when I first heard about B Corps. As someone who used to run a business, it was interesting to hear about a movement in the corporate world that looked beyond a narrow definition of corporate self-interest.
B Corps impressed me because they accounted for their own bottom line and the community’s bottom line.
San Francisco is a city that embodies progressive values of working and living. B Corps not only create valuable jobs for San Francisco, they also help address our social and environmental challenges.
If it were up to me, every company in the world would have more than one bottom line.
In order to ensure that more B Corps base themselves here, we passed legislation that uses the City’s purchasing power to promote doing business with benefit corporations.
The extent to which we can support triple bottom line businesses in San Francisco is very important.
I am interested in the types of companies that look at urban economies and help figure out how to improve urban areas.
This could be businesses participating in the “shareable economy” (i.e. Netflix, City CarShare, Airbnb, etc.), businesses who are creating green collar jobs, or companies that have innovative and supportive labor practices.
In other words, any type of business that can positively impact cities with urban areas is a priority for me.
I think a fascinating new area is in companies developing products and services to address social needs and goods, particularly in urban communities.
Entrepreneurs are thinking about how to better track the needs of homeless individuals, keep data about which buses run on time, or figure out how we can more effectively measure student performance.
These private sector ideas are having an impact not just on government but also on our urban community.
Right now, many B Corporations are fairly small. What does it mean for B Corps to scale in a way that creates a larger impact on the market?
I think it’s important to look beyond local impact and continue to foster the movement nationally and throughout the world.
It’s funny, I was about to say that I like to hold real newspapers, but the technology where you can actually flip the pages–like Flipboard–has gotten so good, that I now only read my newspapers online.
I would’ve given you a different answer just a few years ago. So even that’s pretty green.
Hmm… I try to have very little paper. I don’t own a car. Hold on… I’ll think of something.
How about this: if I could, I would travel more (the plane flights wouldn’t be very green). The problem is I don’t have enough time!
“Ryan Honeyman is one of the brightest lights to come along in quite some time. We all know we need to move in the direction of green, but we often don’t know quite how to start. Ryan’s knowledge and creativity make him a perfect guide.”
-Bruce Bronzan, Trilogy Resources