In an email to certified B corporations throughout the country, B Lab – an organization dedicated to promoting them – announced it was pulling its annual retreat later this year from North Carolina because of HB 2.
From the email:
Due to HB2, the global B Corp community will withdraw its October Retreat and related events from North Carolina.
Immediately, we will begin work with the NC community: 1) to minimize any potential negative impact from this decision on their community building efforts; and 2) to try to get HB2 off the books.
If HB2 is repealed or struck down by the courts before June 30th (the end of the NC legislative session which begins on April 25th), we will happily resume our plans to bring the global community to North Carolina for the 2016 Champions Retreat and related events.
Expanding on the decision, the email said that HB 2 was “contrary to our B Corp values.”
“Relocating the retreat will make clear that the Governor’s and Legislature’s actions have consequences, and may inspire others to follow,” the email said. “Simultaneously, engaging to work with the NC B Corp community and those most affected by HB2 to change the law will also make clear that we stand for building bridges towards an inclusive economy, even when doing is hard.”
“We cannot ask members of the LGBT community to travel to a state where they may feel threatened,” the email continued. “Hosting the Champions Retreat and other events in North Carolina would effectively be asking members of our community to choose between their identities as members of the LGBT community and as members the B Corp community. That is not a choice we want them to have to consider.”
The press release, which notes that nearly 1,700 companies are members of the organization, says that the October events in the Triangle would have included: “the annual global gathering of B Corp CEOs and executives; a series of public talks and street festival called B Inspired; a conference for the economic development arms of city governments, corporate supply chain managers, and impact investors called Measure What Matters; and a conference for university educators teaching business as a force for good.”
B corporations are for-profit companies that advocate a “triple bottom line” measurement of success, focusing on environmental and social impact as well as economic gain; B Lab compares its official certification to “fair trade” and “organic” standards. Notable B corporations include Ben & Jerry’s, Patagonia, Etsy, and New Belgium Brewery. A 2015 WALTER magazine piece listed fourteen certified B Corporations in the Triangle including Bull City Burger & Brewery and Larry’s Beans; a search on the site of B corporations in Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill shows that this number has grown to at least seventeen.
In other “business fighting back against HB 2” news, the Daily Tarheel reported last night that two North Carolina breweries, Durham’s Ponysaurus and Hillsborough’s Mystery, are organizing a special beer with help from thirty other breweries across the state. The saison will be called Don’t Be Mean To People: A Golden Rule, and all proceeds will be donated to LGBT organizations in North Carolina.