Taking Small Steps Toward a Radical Vision for the Future of Business


Often, when I am talking to a potential client or presenting at a conference, I describe Milepost as a management consulting firm that uses the principles of sustainability to guide development of new business models and programs. This is only partially accurate. Really, Milepost is a small, dynamic group of intensely fun, passionate people who believe that business can and must lead the way if there is to be a viable future for humanity. If that sounds radical, that’s the point.

We don’t shy away from or mask our mission (although we might tone it down to get in the door). We let our clients know that we do things differently, and most of them rise to the challenge. We win (and lose) work because we push our clients to ask difficult questions and align their actions with their mission. Every member of our team is very good at holding the company accountable to our own mission and supporting each other during frustrating moments.

So it’s nice to be recognized once in a while, especially by our global peers in the sustainable business community. Today, Milepost is honored to be recognized as a 2016 Best for the World Honoree by B the Change Media during the inaugural Best for the World Gathering, in partnership with the Berkeley-Haas School of Business and the Center for Responsible Business. This recognition is confirmation that we are not just honoring our values, but verifying impacts according to a rigorous set of metrics shared globally (more than 1,800 companies in 50 countries are certified B Corporations).

Milepost earned a score in the top 10% of all B Corporations of similar size in Workers Impact — that means we are “an exceptional performer in a global community of incredible businesses” specific to how we treat our employees.

Put simply: We think that focusing on human wellbeing is more than good business – it’s the future of business.

We believe the strongest business we can build is based on balance and human thriving. We translate that to our clients: We think every business can do better financially by focusing on people – the wellbeing of both employees and customers – and in so doing achieve societal equity while taking care of precious natural resources. Respecting people is the start of a virtuous cycle.

If you’re skeptical, remember that our approach is in every way about economic opportunity. No business will survive long without creating value. Milepost and other B Corps use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems that, left unresolved, have substantial economic impacts. Decreasing negative externalities of business enhances long-term economic performance. Companies that practice social responsibility can expect better long-term survival rates, improved adaptability to market shifts, increased consumer trust and loyalty, and to retain or grow talented and dedicated employees. For example, between 1998 and 2009, the average annual return on a portfolio of the (publicly traded) companies on Fortune’s “Best Companies to Work for” list was 10.3 percent, compared to an annual average return for the S&P 500 of 3.0 percent. According to B the Change, “In short, a company with a happy, productive workforce makes money for its shareholders.”

Because value is more easily communicated when measured, B Corp certification is an important way to quantify our business practices and differentiate our company. B Corporations must continually meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability, and demonstrate commitment to using the power of markets to solve social and environmental problems. We don’t just add a sustainability overlay to conventional business practices – we use the principles of resilience, balance and equity as the foundations of new business models and corporate practices. We believe that a commitment to people and planet is a prerequisite for a thriving economy.

B Corp certification is both a reward for our work and a way of being. We don’t always hit home runs, and sometimes we fall short of our ambitions, but we hold to our vision, and we find inspiration in the shared values of the B Corp community. It’s compelling to envision a world in which the majority of companies behave in the same way.

Ric Cochrane
Ric Cochrane


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