B Lab and Partners Release the Climate Justice Playbook for Business

February 16, 2021

A Global Call for Businesses to Center Climate Action in People and Justice

The escalating climate crisis endangers all of us, but its effects are and will not be felt equally by everyone. The unjust aspects of climate change mean that climate-related natural disasters are more likely to hit lower-income communities that are less equipped to deal with the impacts. It means the younger generations least responsible for climate change are likely to suffer more consequences. It means women and children are more at risk of dying from climate-caused disasters. It means more than 90% of greenhouse gas emissions are produced by Global North countries that make up only 20% of the world’s population. These inequalities make interdependence and inclusion in any climate action efforts a requirement if we are to be successful in climate mitigation, adaptation, and resilience.

Last year, climate scientists warned that greenhouse gas emissions must be halved in the next 10 years to avoid the worst effects of climate change, making this decade pivotal to the future of our planet and the people and other living creatures who inhabit it. It is vital to put the most affected people at the center of climate action and acknowledge that social and environmental issues are not exclusive. Rather, both must be addressed for effective, lasting change.

While governments can take the lead in setting policy goals, businesses are the single largest contributor to climate change. Companies that incorporate stakeholders in their decisions — such as Certified B Corporations — are taking responsibility to reduce their negative environmental impacts and leading the way for other businesses to follow suit.

In the absence of resources to help businesses advance climate justice, B Lab and the B Corp Climate Collective teamed up with the COP26 Climate Champions Team, Provoc, and the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at the University of Oxford to create the Climate Justice Playbook for Business V1.0, a new resource from leading private sector and climate experts.

The Climate Justice Playbook for Business

This practical guide includes information to help business leaders understand the intersection of climate action and social justice and advance a justice-centered approach to climate action.


What Is The Climate Justice Playbook for Business?

The playbook provides insights and guidance for business leaders seeking to understand the intersection of climate and social justice and shift to a human-centered approach to climate action. It includes insights from over 40 B Corps and deeper case studies on four — Guayakí Yerba Mate, Patagonia, Pukka Herbs, and Seventh Generation — that highlight how they are seeking to advance climate justice in their operations, supply chains, and the communities they impact so that other businesses can learn from their approaches and practices.

“Putting people and justice at the center of business efforts to address the climate emergency will be no easy feat, but it must be done,” says Dr. Ellonda Williams, Director of Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) at B Lab. “We have to work collaboratively to create the sustainable and just future we want; not in siloes, and not through the paternalistic, colonialist, and saviorist methodologies that got us here.”

As demands for systems change continue to build, the Climate Justice Playbook for Business calls on the global business community to make a fundamental shift in mindset and behavior by evolving from extractive and exploitative practices to those that are regenerative and equity-driven. As the Playbook notes, centering people and justice is one of the most important keys to addressing the climate crisis.

“For most businesses, navigating the complex intersectionality of climate and justice is new territory,” says Raj Aggarwal, President of B Corp Provoc and co-founder of the B Corp Climate Collective. “This playbook is likely to raise more questions than it answers, and it does not offer a standard menu of options so that a business can simply ‘check the box’ on climate justice. Our hope is that it will open people’s consciousness to a different kind of journey and inspire a deep commitment to learning, rooted in humility and care for the people most impacted by climate change.”

B Corp Climate Justice Case Studies

To help business leaders envision how they can advance climate justice at their companies, the Playbook includes examples from four B Corps — stakeholder-minded companies that incorporate the environment, workers, customers, community and shareholders into their decisions and practices.

  • Patagonia, an outdoor apparel company known for its climate advocacy and policy work. Its climate justice approaches include funding for grassroots organizations, advancing sustainability practices in its industries, advocating for public change, and filmmaking projects like District 15 that advance a commitment to climate and environmental justice. To push your company’s work to the next level, Patagonia suggests practices such as helping customers find local grassroots initiatives via an online map, organizing nonviolent direct action training for employees, and forming partnerships with frontline community organizations.
  • Pukka Herbs, producer of organic herbal teas and well-being supplements. Its climate justice work includes promoting a community approach to share tools, expertise, and training; supporting environmental and social initiatives; and supporting regenerative agriculture practices. To push your company’s work to the next level, Pukka Herbs suggests being authentic about the process, ensuring that your words match your actions, and thinking big about scaling this work for greater impact.
  • Seventh Generation, which makes household and personal care products that help protect human health and the environment. Its climate justice approaches include providing philanthropic funding to Native American organizations; collaborating on advocacy projects with Sierra Club, The Solutions Project and other organizations; and engaging customers on climate justice. To push your company’s work to the next level, Seventh Generation suggests building a collective movement of business action by creating a social mission board to monitor progress, and connecting business communications and practices with human needs and values.
  • Guayakí Yerba Mate, a beverages and herbal company. Its climate justice approaches include supporting stewards who protect forests where its products are grown and improving air quality in its communities through policies and practices. To push your company’s work to the next level, Guayaki Yerba Mate suggests starting with inclusive questions that may have multiple answers, collaborating with other businesses to build momentum, and practicing patience with the pace of change.
Learn more about B Corps and other businesses taking collective action on the climate crisis.

The Climate Justice Playbook for Business

This practical guide includes information to help business leaders understand the intersection of climate action and social justice and advance a justice-centered approach to climate action.


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