Characterising B Corps as a sustainable business model: An exploratory study of B Corps in Australia

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Although there have been several attempts to define a business model that prioritises sustainability, the initiatives do not involve a radical change to the prevailing business model. Sustainable business models are emerging that promise to transform the prevailing business model by prioritising positive social and environmental outcomes. Based on interviews with 14 Australian companies, this paper examines the B Corp model to enrich understanding of the characteristics of sustainable business models that align profit and societal impact. The paper found that the B Corp model has a socially and environmentally embedded mission and purpose, with a dominant objective of creating positive societal impacts for its stakeholders rather than maximising profit. B Corps internalise their social and natural contexts and attempt to engage in institutional work to provide thought leadership around sustainability and to drive change on a broader scale. Questions remain about the scalability of the B Corp model and whether it will be adopted by large, public listed companies to catalyse a shift in the current economic order, or whether it will remain a niche of small privately owned companies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)299-312
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2017


  • B Corps
  • Business model for sustainability
  • Corporate sustainability
  • Hybrid business model
  • Social responsibility
  • Sustainable business model

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