B Lab Statement on North Carolina HB2 and B Corp Champions Retreat
The 2016 B Corp Champions Retreat and related events will be relocated from North Carolina in light of a newly enacted State law called HB2 which limits anti-discrimination protections, particularly for members of the LGBT community.
Last October, B Lab announced that the 2016 B Corp Champions Retreat would be held in North Carolina. The annual B Corp Champions Retreat is the largest gathering of the global B Corp community, and comprises events like 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.
In late March, the Governor of North Carolina signed HB2, a law that B Lab believes makes the state an unfriendly place for the LGBT community and those that care about them. The law also appears to remove the civil rights of all people to file anti-discrimination lawsuits with the State of North Carolina based on race, religion, color, national origin, age, sex, or handicap, and eliminates the ability for cities in North Carolina to support a living wage.
Given our plans to hold the 2016 B Corp Champions Retreat in North Carolina in October, and thus to ask members of our global community to travel to North Carolina where they may now feel unsafe, B Lab carried out a process described below to determine whether the Retreat should stay in North Carolina or relocate, as well as if and how the B Corp community might engage on the issue.
On Saturday April 9th, the below recommendation was approved by the B Lab Board of Directors and Global Governance Council.
As suggested by the above decision, our engagement is as important as our withdrawal. Over the next few weeks, B Lab will determine the best manner to engage the global B Corp community to support local leadership to get HB2 off the books.
Below is a description of the rationale for and process by which we made our decision.
Our process was designed to elevate the voices of all of our stakeholders in order to reach a decision in the best interest of the global B Corp community. Feedback was obtained from the following groups:
B Lab’s co-founders and representatives from the Diversity & Inclusion Committee, B Corp Community Team, and Mission Alignment/Policy Team met to review and discuss the feedback obtained through these avenues and research on HB2 compiled by the Inclusion & Diversity. A consensus emerged around the recommendation summarized above.
Throughout this process, B Lab has been deeply humbled by the B Corp community’s level of caring and thoughtful engagement on the issue. We appreciate all those who have reached out to share information and insights.
Questions may be directed to Vale Jokisch, director of B Lab’s Community Engagement team.