Certified B Corporations and Innovation: Crowdfunding as a Tool for Sustainability

Audrey Paterson, Patrizia Gazzola, Stefano Amelio*, Matteo Ferioli

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Crowdfunding is an emerging practice that plays a central role in funding innovative ideas that support social sustainability. B-Corps are sustainable companies that are increasingly pursuing innovative financial strategies to fund their corporate sustainability goals. To date, the use of crowdfunding as a social financing innovation by B-Corp organisations has received scant attention. This paper contributes to closing this gap by addressing three research questions. The first investigates the relationship between B-Corps certification and the use of crowdfunding. The second explores whether there is a relationship between crowdfunding and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The third investigates B-Corps’ level of information transparency in relation to this innovation and SDGs. Our investigation involved a cross-analysis of B Labs and the main crowdfunding platforms. In total, 28 B-Corps were identified as using crowdfunding platforms. Of these, 22 were selected for analysis. Our findings reveal that the pandemic period increased the use of crowdfunding among B-Corps. Crowdfunding financing was not found to be linked to the SDGs as not all investors purse these goals. We further found that investors prefer to base their decisions on the information communicated via crowdfunding platforms. Few companies declared the use of this innovative form of financing on their websites, especially on the homepage, and less than half of the companies analyzed included this form of financing in their sustainability reports. Our findings suggest that managers should provide specific information on the objectives of the campaign to be funded on the crowdfunding platforms and in the “other sustainability documents”. This way the campaigns would be more effective and could raise a greater amount of money.
Original languageEnglish
Article number16639
Number of pages15
JournalSustainability
Volume14
Issue number24
Early online date12 Dec 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Dec 2022

Keywords

  • B-Corps; sustainability
  • innovation
  • crowfunding
  • SDGs

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