B Lab has appointed a chief executive to run its fledgling operation in Singapore.
The non-profit behind the sustainable business certification scheme B Corp has named former finance professional Amelie Remond to the top role, 18 months after the launch of the Singapore office as a Southeast Asia hub for the certifier.
Remond brings more than 30 years of experience in asset management and insurance to the job, having worked for the likes of investment firm Abrdn and Dutch bank ABN AMRO. She joins with an ambition to accelerate the adoption of B Corp’s famously tough sustainability standards.
Only a third of firms that apply for B Corp status get certified, such is the rigorousness of the certification process. To remain certified, B Corps are reassessed every three years, and must continually improve their social and environmental credentials. To get B Corp certified can take more than a year.
Remond’s appointment comes as B Lab announces the first company listed on the Singapore Exchange to get B Corp certified, Olive Tree Real Estate. Temasek-owned private equity firm ABC Impact is another newly certified B Corp in Singapore, taking the total number of B Corps in the city-state to 31, up from 19 a year ago. B Lab is aiming to certify 100 businesses in Singapore by 2025.
The certification of a listed company is an important win for the B Corp movement in Singapore, as typically B Corps tend to be small-to medium-sized businesses. Other certified B Corps in Singapore include food upcycling company Crust Group, renewables firm Right People Renewable Energy and media production company Vision Strategy Storytelling, whose owner, Jacqui Hocking, is a B Corp ambassador for Southeast Asia.
Remond joins a B Lab Singapore team that includes founding director Caroline Seow and chief operating officer Prisca Lim, who came on board last year.
Remond acknowledged that growing the B Corp movement in Singapore will be a challenge, given the time it takes for companies to get certified and the relatively low level of awareness of the B Corp brand in Southeast Asia. “It will be difficult. I don’t think we will convince everyone [to get certified]. But what’s important for us is to identify the leaders, then others will follow,” she said.
There are currently more than 6,900 B Corps across 150 industries in 80 countries, a number that has grown significantly in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic as more firms consider environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues as part of their growth plans. Globally, more than 150,000 companies have used the B Corp assessment tool since the start of the movement in 2006.
Remond said that B Corp certification provides companies with a “spine” to support their sustainability journey. “B Corp certification helps companies revisit their processes, management and culture to help them be sustainability leaders,” she said.
However, she noted that many companies are focused on complying with various environmental regulations without really changing the way they do business in a way that includes all stakeholders, which B Corp certfication demands.
“It’s like pilates. You have to start with your core muscles if you want to see real change.”
Did you find this article useful? Join the EB Circle!
Your support helps keep our journalism independent and our content free for everyone to read. Join our community here.