Beginning with B

by Terence Jeyaretnam

The letter ‘B’ is suddenly making a resurgence, tired of playing second fiddle to ‘A’.

Recently, Sir Richard Branson launched the ‘B Team’ ( Note, not the ‘A Team’. The B Team is a plan with a single purpose: to make business work better. How? By shifting the focus from just financial gains, towards environmental and social gains as well. The B Team will achieve this vision by dividing their agenda into specific ‘grand challenges’ that they act on. Each Challenge, led by a B Team business leader, will empower and enable business people around the world to transform how business is done. The B Team is made up of the ‘A list’ of thought and business leaders including Sir Richard Branson, head of the Virgin Group, Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever and Ariana Huffington, Chair of The Huffington Post.

Then there’s Lester R. Brown, President of Earth Policy Institute’s book Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization. "Plan B is shaped by what is needed to save civilization, not by what may currently be considered politically feasible.” According to Brown, ‘Plan B’ is the alternative to business as usual (that is ‘Plan A’). Its goal is to move the world from the current decline and collapse path onto a new path with four components: cutting net carbon dioxide emissions 80 percent by 2020, stabilizing population at 8 billion or lower, eradicating poverty, and restoring the earth’s natural systems, including its soils, aquifers, forests, grasslands, and fisheries. The ambitiousness of this plan is not driven by perceived political feasibility, but by scientific reality.

And finally, B Corporations, where the B stands for ‘Benefit’, a movement that is now supported by the Clinton Global Initiative, and is gaining momentum throughout the world. Today, there is a growing community of more than 850 Certified B Corps from 28 countries and 60 industries working together toward 1 unifying goal: to redefine success in business. Designed for for-profit entities that want to consider society and the environment in addition to profit in their decision-making process, Benefit corporations differ from traditional corporations in regards to their purpose, accountability and transparency. The purpose of a benefit corporation is to create general public benefit, which is defined as a material positive impact on society and the environment. My firm, Net Balance is a founding Australian B Corporation, thinking Big about creating Benefits to people and planet, while running an innovative and growing Business.

If B is for Better, and the B Team, Plan B and B Corps move us from Beta testing our world to bring more Balance, let’s get Behind B!


Terence Jeyaretnam is a Director of Net Balance (, 
one of the world’s leading sustainability advisory firms.
Terence is based in Melbourne.

Twitter: TerenceJey

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