B Lab: Building a New Sector of the Economy

Posted: 10 Apr 2012

See all articles by Christopher Marquis

Christopher Marquis

Cornell University; Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Andrew Klaber

Harvard University - Business School (HBS)

Bobbi Thomason

Stanford University

Date Written: September 28, 2011


The founders of B Lab are on a mission to create a new sector of the economy, and are specifically focused on a three objectives: 1) building a community of Certified B Corporations (B=Benefit) that legally expand their corporate responsibilities to include consideration of diverse stakeholder interests, 2) advancing the public policies necessary to create a new corporate form called a Benefit Corporation, and 3) creating an investment rating system to help drive institutional investment to the emerging asset class of "impact investments." The case considers the challenges associated with achieving each one of these objectives, let alone all three at the same time. Is B Lab's tripartite strategy its secret sauce or its albatross?

Learning Objective: To understand processes of institutional change and the challenges of balancing social benefit and business value.

Suggested Citation

Marquis, Christopher and Klaber, Andrew and Thomason, Bobbi, B Lab: Building a New Sector of the Economy (September 28, 2011). Harvard Business School Organizational Behavior Unit Case No. 411-047, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2037907

Christopher Marquis (Contact Author)

Cornell University ( email )

363 Sage Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.chrismarquis.com

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Andrew Klaber

Harvard University - Business School (HBS) ( email )

Soldiers Field Road
Morgan 270C
Boston, MA 02163
United States

Bobbi Thomason

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

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