52 minutes | Sep 11th 2020

Ep 180. Christopher Marquis: How B Corps are Remaking Capitalism

Christopher Marquis is the Samuel C. Johnson Professor in Global Sustainable Enterprise and Professor of Management at Cornell University. His current teaching and research focus on the two areas of social innovation and change and doing business in China. Prior to joining Cornell, Chris worked for 10 years at Harvard Business School and has held visiting positions at Harvard’s Kennedy School, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Peking University, Fudan University, and Shanghai Jiaotong University. He received a PhD in sociology and business administration from the University of Michigan.

In this episode, Stew and Chris discuss his new book, Better Business: How the B Corp Movement Is Remaking Capitalism. Chris reviews the meaning and intent of a B Corp, how this differs from corporate social responsibility initiatives, and why the essential features of B Corps are good for all businesses and their people.  They get into why and how the U.S. differs from other industrialized nations in resisting stakeholder (as opposed to shareholder) models. Chris reviews common forms of resistance to taking on social issues -- including the environment, racial and economic justice -- and how to overcome these obstacles to positive change. They discuss generational trends in corporate social responsibility and how the pandemic, the resultant economic crisis, and increased awareness of systemic racism may reshape corporate America.

Here then is an invitation, a challenge, for you, once you’ve listened to the conversation.  What might you be able to try, in your work environment, that is consistent with the B Corp movement’s principles, that you believe would increase its value as a business?  Write to Stew to let him know, at friedman@wharton.upenn.edu, or connect with him on LinkedIn.  While you’re at it, share your thoughts with him on this episode and your ideas for people you’d like to hear on future shows. 

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