The making of a movement: the rise of the B Corp on the global stage

Dublin Core


Harriman, Alyssa


The making of a movement: the rise of the B Corp on the global stage

Date Issued



Copenhagen Business School


Social economy
B corporation
Economic Models
South America






"In response to growing concern for social and environmental issues throughout the world, a small but steadily growing movement is working to harness the power of business for the benefit of society. This movement, the B Corp movement, is comprised of for-profit companies committed to sustainability-related initiatives that are central to their purpose. This movement aims to bridge the gap between business and society, working to address some of the biggest challenges of our time.
The B Corp movement is unique in that it works to drive societal change through the repurposing of existing capitalist structures. To date, there are 1,358 certified B Corps operating across 121 industries in 41 countries throughout the world. B Lab, the nonprofit behind the movement, has established partnerships with sister organizations in South America, Australia, and Europe; each working to grow and support the movement in their region. The rise of the B Corp on the global stage is a phenomenon that has the potential to redefine success in business and create a more social and environmentally beneficial economy.
This paper sets out to identify the key factors that contributed to the growth of the B Corp movement in North America and its subsequent expansion throughout South America, Australia, and Europe. Through employing business history methods to construct a narrative, the research uses inductive reasoning to identify a pattern and puts forward three tentative hypotheses as to the key factors contributing to the movement’s growth:
1. The core components of the movement appeal to the existing ideology of a wide-range (and growing number) of stakeholders.
2. A strong bond exists among individuals that share this ideology as it goes against the prevailing norm in business.
3. The movement provided the first concrete definition of what this ideology looks like within the current capitalist structures.
Rooted in the social constructivist epistemology, the research uses the social movement theory of framing to further analyze the growth of the B Corp movement and finds support for the derived hypotheses."