10 years of The B Team
Just over 14 years ago I was sitting at an Elders meeting with Jean Oelwang, founding CEO of Virgin Unite, and thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be incredible if we could pull together the most committed group of business leaders to support many of The Elders initiatives and other causes that only entrepreneurs could address?’ After that meeting, we got a group of incredible people together to help us shape it. I spoke with a good friend Jochen Zeitz, introduced to us by the wonderful Andrea Barron, who joined forces with us and from there The B Team was born ten years ago.
Along with a brilliant group of partners, and a core group of leaders, including Paul Polman, Mo Ibrahim, and Arianna Huffington we started the journey. Since then, this global collective of business and civil society leaders has inspired and challenged themselves and the business community - working to create a better way of doing business that serves humanity and the planet.
At its core, The B Team is a decade-long exercise in radical collaboration and throughout our years together, leaders have consistently supported and driven one another and other business leaders.
Many of the actions taken by the group are highlighted in ‘The B Team at 10’. From helping to get net zero into the world, to supporting the incredible team that led the Paris Agreement. The B Team have also supported the growth of the We Mean Business Coalition and Open Ownership, which has collaborated with almost 40 countries to speed up beneficial ownership reforms.
We’ve had the great honour to work on 100% Human at Work - a partnership between The B Team and Virgin Unite – that has brought together an extraordinary network of over 500 organisations and individuals around the world, who are shaping a vision for a better future of work, testing ideas, and driving change.
Thanks to The B Team, and many other wonderful partners, more and more business leaders are taking action on climate change, nature loss and the way these exacerbate inequality. Publishing the first-ever set of business guidelines for a just transition in 2018 raised the bar for corporate climate action and has since inspired international, regional, and sector-specific coalitions.
The B Team has also inspired others to understand the scale of the challenge. The group’s ground-breaking study on the scale of environmentally harmful subsidies, published in 2022 in partnership with Business for Nature, helped to influence the language and level of ambition within the Global Biodiversity Framework, which was adopted at the Biodiversity COP last year (COP15). This was of course alongside many other great partners who have committed their lives to this work.
Economic and social systems change will take everyone coming together: business leaders, public officials and policymakers, civil society, young people - everyone. We feel so fortunate to have the chance to work with The B Team leaders under Halla Tómasdóttir and her team’s wonderful leadership.
The challenges we face as a society have never been more pressing, the need for a better way of doing business has never been greater, and the mission and purpose of The B Team has never been more relevant. Here’s to the next 10 years.