The B Leadership programme took place on the 27th and 28th of June 2018 in Edinburgh Napier University as kick-off event to Scotland CAN B. The 2-day programme brought together 28 participants who were selected for their merit in promoting a values-in-business agenda through their work in various sectors ranging from academia to third sector and for-profit enterprises. Participants worked on themes related to ensuring inclusive economic growth in Scotland and strengthening ties for greater collaboration and understanding across sectors and actors. The programme encouraged a plethora of insightful discussions, which followed three main themes.
The first overarching theme was the provision of a forum for inclusive dialogue and the strengthening Scotland’s voice in using business as a force for good. By bringing together a wide range of stakeholders across Scotland, the B Leadership programme drew a broad mind map of Scotland’s current ideas, projects and individual drive aimed at encouraging a strong and ambitious message to scale positive business impact. Government representatives, academics from Edinburgh Napier University, certified B corporations such as MacPhie, a community of small and medium enterprise business leaders such as Adopt an Intern and Brewgooder all shared their perspective as well as the hurdles they face in making their breakthrough as part of a more diverse, fair, and vibrant economy.
In addition, the B leadership course provided an opportunity for participants to familiarise themselves with the B corporation movement and gain an in-depth insight into the B Impact Assessment and the value of measuring one’s impact. Generally, there is a growing trend in business to integrate impact into one’s business model.
This trend is echoed by Social Value Lab’s Better Business Better Scotland report: generally, business leaders in Scotland consider social and environmental concerns to be important to their company with 85% of the surveyed reporting community, social and environmental issues as either ‘very’ or ‘fairly’ important and 89% of business leaders agreeing that responsible behaviour drives business success.
Testimonials from existing B corps, e.g. Triodos Bank, One Stone Advisors, and MacPhie, served as compelling case studies and a vivid illustration of the potential of Scotland’s new wave of ethical and socially responsible business. Having acquired a comprehensive understanding of the value of the tool that has been created over the past 10 years by BLab UK, some participants have submitted an assessment to become certified, whilst others have shared that that they feel empowered to tell individuals and organisations about the tool’s potential as a business practice to help companies better understand how they currently do business and how to augment and manage their impact in the future.
The event also served as a foundation for future action. Attendees discussed effective strategies of how to collaborate further to make real contribution to inclusive economic growth in Scotland. One of the key takeaway ideas according to testimonials is that there is a clear appetite for improvement in the way business is conducted in Scotland and openness as to how that may be achieved. The B Leadership programme facilitated exchange and once again vividly illustrated Scotland’s drive to B the change. Thus, it successfully laid out the first building blocks of Scotland’s quest to becoming not only one of the most entrepreneurial countries in the world, but also a country with one of the most responsible and conscious business leaders who can B the change.
By Elitsa Marinova