Rwanda just passed Benefit Corporation Legislation, becoming the 6th country in the world to provide this option to businesses in Rwanda. This is a leap in the right direction for a country that has been at the forefront of innovation and community based initiatives. I applaud Karisimbi Partners Co-Founder, Carter Crockett, for starting this conversation in Rwanda and opening the door for this to happen. Of course the heavy lifting was done by the legislators in Rwanda who saw the benefit of this law and decided to pass it into legislation.
What this means for businesses in Rwanda is that they can choose to set up as a business that takes into account all stakeholders: workers, community, workers, customers, suppliers and the environment; in their regular course of doing business. Taking into account means practicing business consciously, and with mindfulness. It means making decisions while considering the impact of these decisions on people and the planet.
For years, Africans have always looked to the government to create and implement policies for the people. Policies that will create an enabling environment for all citizens and corporations to thrive. Still, corruption is rampant. Companies are cutting corners, evading taxes, treating their employees poorly and operating with disregard of their impact on the environment. In most countries, these policies do exist but the challenge is in the implementation and adherence of the rule of law.
It is time for us to call businesses to account on the impact their operations have on all stakeholders. Private sector has the potential to solve these problems by making a commitment to a new way of doing business. As a business, here are some questions to consider: What policies do you have in place to ensure that your employees can live a decent life? Do you pay them a minimum wage or a living wage? How quickly do you pay your suppliers to ensure that their businesses also thrive? What quality of products or services do you provide to your customers? What impact do your business practices have on the environment?
All over the world, businesses are taking a stand to use their existence as a force for good, a conduit for positive impact on all stakeholders. To ensure that the communities in which they operate are better off because they are there. They opt to become B Corporations and where their countries allow, Benefit Corporations. There are over 10,000 Benefit Corporations worldwide and over 3800 Certified B Corporations. Is your company ready to take a stand?
About the Author
Ngwing Kimani is the Executive Director of B Lab East Africa (www.b-labafrica.net). Take the B Impact Assessment and set your company on the path to success by measuring what matters. Visit www.b-labafrica.net/b-impact-assessment