Pablo Sánchez, Executive Director of B Lab Spain
What does B Lab do?
B Lab is a global foundation that is seeking to transform the economy so that it benefits people, communities, and the planet as a whole. Those who created the foundation in 2006 believe that this kind of economy is not only possible, but necessary, and that companies should lead the change. Since then, we have certified more than 5,500 companies worldwide. To be certified, companies must demonstrate high standards of transparency, accountability, and a strong commitment to society and the environment.
But we do much more than that. We are also building the B Corp Movement, whose purpose is to encourage change in the way things are done. B Lab creates standards, policies, tools, and programs that modify the structure, behavior, and culture of actors in our economic system. We encourage the B Corp community to engage in collective action to address society's most critical challenges.
When was CIDOB founded and when did you start working there?
The B Corp movement was introduced to Spain in 2014 via Roots for Sustainability, a company founded by Raimon Puigjaner, Pep Tarifa and Pablo Sánchez in 2010. in 2018, we founded the B Lab Spain foundation in order to increase the reach and representation of the B Corp movement in Spain.
What do you like most about your job?
Feeling that what I do has meaning and other people appreciate it. In June, we managed to convince the Spanish Congress to recognize Companies of Benefit and Common Interest (or Companies with a purpose), a new legal concept. We received hundreds of messages of support and we were delighted every time a company told us "I feel proud to be B Corp."
And the least?
Realizing that the changes we promote are not going as fast as we would like. The urgency is so great that we need to move much faster. Businesses continue to prioritize the bottom line; it is time to appreciate had companies have a tremendous capacity to change and improve the world.
What do you think your company excels at?
Our recognized global standards and branding that define a new kind of company, a B Corp. The foundation has also created a global community that is working together to promote a new economic model aimed at creating benefits for all, not only shareholders.
What is your main challenge?
To maintain the credibility and reputation of our brand and the B Corp. movement. We are continuing to scale up the B Corp movement while maintaining standards, rigor, credibility and integrity.
Where is your business located? Do you know why this location was chosen?
We are in Poble Nou, in the 22@ area. We had a good opportunity to locate to a really dynamic part of town.
What do you like most about the neighborhood where you work?
Its entrepreneurial and international nature. Poble Nou is a part of the city that had an industrial past and is now embracing a present and future based on technology and innovation. The proximity to the beach is also a plus.
How important is Barcelona for your company?
It is very important because we have deep roots in the city. In fact, we are promoting the Barcelona+B project together with Barcelona City Council, EADA Business School, and Ferrer. The aim of Barcelona+B is to promote a more prosperous, sustainable, and inclusive city, a benchmark in transforming businesses and helping the city to achieve the SDGs.
With which city would you compare Barcelona?
Barcelona is unique, one of the great cities in the world. It is in a truly privileged position. This is due to its culture, history, gastronomy, climate; its avant-garde and entrepreneurial character; and its social fabric, educational infrastructure and innovation ecosystem, not to mention its strategic location in the Mediterranean. Now it is necessary to recover the city’s ambition and pride and continue to making Barcelona a better city for people and the planet.
What form of urban model should Barcelona adopt?
As I said before, Barcelona has its own model; it is unique. However, amongst the European cities I know, I believe that Amsterdam is a city from which much can be learned. It is highly dynamic, business-minded, and able to combine mass tourism with a high quality of life. It also has excellent public transport connecting its metropolitan area and it is ideal for walking and cycling.
What good practices from other cities would you like Barcelona to adopt?
Barcelona should boost the impact economy and entrepreneurship just as Amsterdam has done with its Impact Amsterdam program. Barcelona could become the Davos of the Impact Economy due to the number of actors working in the field. I also believe that, like Boston, Barcelona could be a benchmark for education and research if there were more resources to attract and retain talent in the city.
What do you ask of the Barcelona of the future?
Barcelona needs to recover its hope and ambition, with each of us doing our bit to help. The aim of the Barcelona+B project is to turn Barcelona into a city that is a leader in sustainable transformation.