BCorp Twente: Transforming business models

Saxion Conscious Business Lab and Eshuis Accountants & Advisors joined the great business community in Twente together and founded BCorp Twente. “Business models of companies can be used more and more to create social impact. We strongly believe in the power to make the world a better place; by working together in a targeted way and taking a step forward every day”, says Aldo van Duivenboden on behalf of Saxion.

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In het kort

  • Business models of companies can be used more and more to create social impact.
  • That is why BCorp Twente was founded. A quality label for entrepreneurs who, in addition to profit, also take people, the environment and society as a starting point, and therefore have a meaningful business. 
Creating a movement

Thanks to a contribution from the Agenda for Twente, Saxion and Eshuis started collaborating with 12 organisations in the spring of 2020, to work together on and learn more about realising meaningful business models. Their goal is creating a movement of meaningful and driven entrepreneurs in Twente. They operate under the title of “BCorpTwente”, using the so-called BCorp standard. “BCorp is the worldwide quality label for entrepreneurs who, in addition to profit, also take people, the environment and society as a starting point. “We call this re-idealism in BCorp Twente: we face the reality that it is necessary to reduce CO2 and to pay attention to the people, the environment and society. And it is our ideal that we can realise this together, in Twente”, says Aldo enthusiastically. 

Global, regional and local examples

There are over 3350 BCorp certified organisations worldwide, spread over 71 countries and 150 industries. “These recognised pioneers show that it is indeed possible to transform an existing business model into one in which an organisation takes its responsibility for people, the environment and society”, says Aldo. “Tony Chocolonely and Dopper are certified organisations in the Netherlands, for example, and so are Van Wijhe Verf and recently Auping in our province. And in the region as well: Sosialforce from Enschede.”

Aldo explains the following about their reason for participating: “As Saxion Conscious Business Lab, we explicitly want to introduce students to meaningful entrepreneurship. Besides using the Meaning Box, developed by the Stichting Betekeniseconomie (Foundation for meaningful economy) in Twente, BCorp Twente also offers students the option to get in touch with real business issues in the field of integrated sustainability.”

The use(lessness) of certification

“The first experiences show that the participants of BCorp Twente see BCorp as a means of doing business more meaningfully, and certainly not as a goal in itself”, is what Aldo responds when asked what the relevance of BCorp certification is. Participants have mainly maintained contact through video conferences recently, due to the corona measures. Among others, organisations that have already been certified were interviewed. A number of reasons for working with BCorp emerged:

  • “We now have an integral approach thanks to this tool. It gives us a place for our efforts regarding social entrepreneurship, in addition to our circular ambitions.”
  • “BCorp is a standard of and for the business community. It is, therefore, a means of arriving at new business models.”
  • “This tool allows us to examine ourselves, without the obligation of certification. The “open source” available – English – questionnaire helps with this.”
  • “The BCorp assessment helped with making “our story” more concrete and to then implement the insights into our mission, vision and strategy.”
Discovering the participants

“Starting September, we will be meeting face to face again with Twente entrepreneurs that have been there from the start, and also with a second group. We will continue to share experiences. It is not without reason that our aim is to inspire entrepreneurs and students to do business in a more meaningful way, whether they want to be certified or not. You can still register”, Aldo concludes with a laugh. 

Date: 6 July 2020
Source of tekst: Eshuis Accountants en Adviseurs
Author: Twente.com

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