Case | HBS Case Collection | September 2010 (Revised September 2011)

B Lab: Building a New Sector of the Economy

by Christopher Marquis, Andrew David Klaber and Bobbi Thomason

Abstract

The founders of B Lab are on a mission to create a new sector of the economy and are specifically focused on a three objectives: 1) building a community of Certified B Corporations (B=Benefit) that legally expand their corporate responsibilities to include consideration of diverse stakeholder interests; 2) advancing the public policies necessary to create a new corporate form called a Benefit Corporation; and 3) creating an investment rating system to help drive institutional investment to the emerging asset class of "impact investments." The case considers the challenges associated with achieving each of these objectives, let alone all three at the same time. Is B Lab's tripartite strategy its secret sauce or its albatross?

Keywords: Economic Sectors; Social Entrepreneurship; Investment; Policy; Corporate Social Responsibility and Impact; Business and Government Relations; Business and Stakeholder Relations; Social Enterprise; Value Creation;

Citation:

Marquis, Christopher, Andrew David Klaber, and Bobbi Thomason. "B Lab: Building a New Sector of the Economy." Harvard Business School Case 411-047, September 2010. (Revised September 2011.)