B Corps: For-Profit Companies Creating Positive Social Change
What do Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, Klean Kanteen’s tumblers and the Hootsuite’s social media managing platform all have in common? They’re all products produced by Certified B Corps, companies that are leading the way for people to use business to create positive change in the world.
Have you ever wished there was a company you could cheer on that guaranteed your support and money went to their mission for good? Now there is! A movement of businesses pledging to put their mission above profit has been taking the world by storm. Some familiar names are already among their ranks, including Ben & Jerry's, Patagonia and KickStarter. They're called B Corps and here's why these companies should absolutely be bookmarked and kept on your radar as the ones to support when it comes to companies doing business for positive change.
What exactly is a B Corporation?
A B Corp is a for-profit company that has demonstrated that it meets the highest standards for overall performance, environmental and social, and conducts transparent and accountable business. Each B Corp has passed a B Impact Assessment and earned a numerical value of at least 80 out of 200, based on how well the company is creating a positive impact for its workers, community and our environment. Once the assessment of the company is verified by the non-profit governing body known as the B Lab, and pays the applicable fees (a percentage of their annual revenue), the company is a Certified B Corp and can represent themselves as such using the official branding and logo of B Corps on their product packaging. As transparency and accountability are tantamount to the certification, if a company hasn’t reached the minimum score during their assessment, they will not be certified and cannot use B Corp branding until they take the necessary steps to improve their score.
Beyond the certification, it’s an approach and a global movement to push better business practices, as well as a growing community of companies committed to do good and expand the collective impact.
How is it Important?
By becoming a certified B Corp, a company is taking ownership that both the people that make the business happen and the place it operates, local or worldwide, matter. They are stakeholders that must be considered. Any company that undervalues its workers or degrades the environment, is actively destroying its own profitability by not respecting the future consequences of today’s actions. B Corps are actively working to change that mindset and move forward to a better world.
In an interview about being a B Corp with Bert Van Son, owner and CEO of Mud Jeans International, he states, “Doing the assessment opens your eyes in many ways. It makes you think of parts of your company where you haven’t been thinking about before.” This reflection is crucial to really considering how people and place matter. B Corp illustrates what the best looks like and carves a path for each business to make continued improvements to meet this benchmark. He further illuminates that when you sign the B Corp Declaration of Interdependence, you acknowledge that each company must be the change and that future generations are dependent upon your actions today. You must make your actions matter.
Why should you care?
Companies that have chosen to undergo the assessment and pay for official certification, show you, the consumer, that they are committed to creating market-based solutions that make a positive impact to the lives of their employees, the communities they conduct business in, and to the greater global community. They are actively redefining what it means to be a success in business by ensuring that their internal business practices align with their values. From paying fair wages and purchasing locally to reducing emissions and committing to continued future improvements, they are raising standards across the board.
When you support companies that are Certified B Corps, you spend with a purpose and back businesses working to better the marketplace. Even more, by supporting B Corporations, you use your hard-earned cash to inspire other businesses to take stock of their practices and show that there is an economic benefit to push for change and join the more than 2,500 existing global B Corps that are already doing this.
Purchase goods and services from companies with B Corp certification. Look for the B Corp branding on product labels or search for companies that have gotten the certification in the B Corp Directory.
Own a company and interested in jumping on board and getting B Corp certification? See if you meet the certification requirements. Not up to snuff just yet? Now you’ve got something to work towards! Make it a goal and take the steps you need to get your company there. Today is the best day to start taking steps in the right direction.