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Why ‘break bread’ when you can ‘cut cake’?

It’s a rhetorical question one can imagine famed 19th Century Irish poet and playwright Oscar Wilde asking. As you may know, it was Wilde who is quoted as saying: “Life is short. Eat dessert first.”

At Currie we cut cake this week. Chocolate ripple cake.

It’s how we chose to celebrate B Corp month. Not heard of it? Well, it’s been a big deal during February for us (and 2,428 other companies worldwide) who are proudly-certified B Corporations (BCorps).

Why ripple cake? It’s symbolic of The Ripple Effect, a campaign of “small actions designed to drive big actions”, and, in doing so, build awareness about BCorps and grow the community of BCorps in 50+ countries.

The idea of The Ripple Effect is powerful.  The late US attorney general Robert F. Kennedy harnessed it for his Ripple of Hope speech at Cape Town, South Africa, during 1966. Although this speech is considered Robert Kennedy’s finest, it’s another he made two years later that shines just as brightly for me.

Fifty years ago next month Kennedy said “Gross National Product (the total value of goods and services produced by a country)…measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.”

GNP (what we in Australia call Gross Domestic Product) “does not measure the health of our children…the beauty of our poetry…the strength of our marriages…neither our wisdom nor our learning…” he said.

Measuring what matters most in society is fascinating. For 10 years Currie told stories about the world’s longest-running measure of national subjective wellbeing, the Australian Unity Wellbeing Index. This research into the quality of life in Australia proves that it takes more than a healthy GDP to make us happy.

Today, in the work of social scientists studying the resilience and wellbeing of rural and regional communities, Currie continues to see evidence that economics is only part of the story about what makes life worthwhile.

So, when we learned about the opportunity to measure our company’s impact on what matters most, using the B Impact Assessment – a prerequisite to B Corp certification – we jumped at the opportunity. The assessment, which is supervised by the non-profit organisation, B Lab, categorises what matters most under five headings – community, workers, government, customers and environment.

In 2014 Currie became a founding member of B Corp’s Australia and New Zealand community.

Last week a business consultant asked me whether I would recommend B Corp certification to one of his clients, a legal firm, and I said: “If they’re serious about managing what matters most, do it. If they want to show that they’re good for the world, do it. If they want their business to be the best it can be, do it.”

That’s why we do it.

We feel lucky and proud in our work with brave clients who are finding new, game-changing ways to create liveable spaces, empower resilient communities, sustain natural ecosystems and build vibrant economies.

I don’t know what Oscar Wilde would make of today’s world. Yet, one thing is certain, he would be doing what makes life worthwhile and applauding companies which celebrate doing good with dessert.

About Mark Paterson

Mark’s first job was milking cows. An award-winning career in journalism followed. These days when he's not trying to save coral reefs in Indonesia, dreaming about playing tennis on the Masters circuit or raising three kids in a blended family he thrives on consulting work that connects profit with people and planet. The son of corgi breeders, Mark would like to change the world for the better. Read more posts by Mark.

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