Inaugural B Corp event in Cork sets ambition to make Cork a B Corp City

Inaugural B Corp event in Cork sets ambition to make Cork a B Corp City

Three Cork-based B Corp certified businesses, Change by Degrees, Otonomee and Climeaction, came together with B Lab Ireland yesterday (13 June) to host the first B Corp event in Cork. A day of networking and panel discussions triggered a wave of companies wanting to be more ambitious and use their influence to create positive impact. The atmosphere in the room was overwhelmingly positive, practical and solutions focused.  

The event took place in The Dean in Cork, where B Corps including UrbanVolt, Velo Coffee Roasters, Ballyhass Adventures, OCEANR, OPTEL Group, Broadlake, and Gaia Talent shared stories of how they have pushed boundaries to create value for their businesses, their customers and communities and for the environment, by reshaping business models, company cultures and customer experiences.  

Marcello Palazzi speaking at B Corp Cork 13 June 2024
Marcello Palazzi speaking at B Corp Cork, 13 June 2024. Credit: Alison Miles/OSM PHOTO

Keynote speaker and self-proclaimed ‘entrepreneur for human progress’, Marcello Palazzi set the challenge to make Cork a B Corp City.

Over the past 35 years Palazzi has successfully launched 30+ ventures, including B Lab Europe, where he has grown B Corps in Europe from zero to over 600 today. Marcello is also the founder of B For Good Leaders, the first global cooperative of entrepreneurs for the planet.

He shared examples of B Corp cities from New York and Rome to Barcelona and urged Cork to set an audacious goal to be a leading B Corp city not just in Ireland but globally. He stressed the importance of having an inspiring vision for the city and the country and said: “If Ireland is creating a strategy for the future, B Corp companies have to be at heart of it.” He set the challenge to launch a ‘Cork Can B initiative’ and keep the momentum generated at the event.  

Influential Cork-based corporations such as Merck and Barry Group joined panel sessions exploring the themes of the event – experience, expertise and influence – with sponsorship provided by Cork-based B Corp certified company Cully & Sully.

B Corp Cork Community Panel Tom Cotter OCEANR Tara Shine Change by Degrees Suzanne Casey Velo Coffee Roasters Eoghan McCarthy Ballyhass Adventure Group
The Change by Degrees 'Community' panel (from left to right): Tom Cotter, OCEANR; Dr Tara Shine, Change by Degrees; Suzanne Casey, Velo Coffee Roasters; and Eoghan McCarthy, Ballyhass Adventure Group. Credit: Alison Miles/OSM PHOTO

After the event Dr Tara Shine, CEO and Co-Founder of Change by Degrees, stated: “We started this month with UN Secretary-General calling the fossil fuel industry as the godfathers of climate chaos. So the event was a refreshing take on the role of business in doing good, creating jobs, contributing to communities and safeguarding the environment. We firmly believe that if more people in business have the skills they need to do their jobs sustainably, we can accelerate the transition to responsible business practices.”

Madeleine Murray, CPO and Co-Founder of Change by Degrees, added: “B Corp companies are on a pathway to continuous improvement and part of an international community of over 8000 companies measuring and managing their impact on the global economy to benefit all people.”

Paul Murphy, CEO of Climeaction, commented: “As a business built for impact, we believe it is essential to promote the benefits of using a business as a force for good. Our experience shows that the benefits of B Corp certification are tangible and make commercial sense. We want to support bringing together other businesses to share their experiences and insights.

Hilary O’Shea, Co-Founder and CCO of Otonomee, added: “In an increasingly fragmented world, facing serious environmental and social challenges, companies need to act on their moral obligations to use business as a force for good. B Corp provides a transparent global framework to achieve this and brings a like-minded business minds together to elevate impact. Doing well in business and doing good in the world, has never been so critical”

James McManus, Director of B Lab Ireland attended the event and said: “B Corp certification will help companies prepare for CSRD. More importantly, it will help them win new business, reduce costs, attract top talent and win investment. We are calling on all Irish companies big and small to future-proof their businesses and join the B Corp movement.”

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Tor McIntosh

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