You may have seen the little B logo on some of your favorite products like when you sit down on a Thursday night in front of the boobtube with a pint of Ben & Jerry's Phish Food, on the menu of your favorite coffeehouse in North Philly, or written about in your favorite news sources like the Wall Street Journal or Fast Company. There are over 850 B Corps around the world and the list is growing every week.
If you're a little behind in the trends (no judgment here), a B Corp is a social and environmental business certification for for-profit companies. The company goes through a rigorous assessment, the Impact Assessment (which by the way is a free tool for anyone to take at any time!), that measures the company's impact on all stakeholders.
So why do businesses do this? We've listed 5 reasons that barely scrape the surface about the importance of this transparent certification to a company and the future of our economy.
B Lab, the non-profit behind the certification, requires comprehensive information about your company to prove your commitment to environmental and social standards. Once you complete the certification process, your results become public for consumers, clients, employees, and other stakeholders to view. This transparency is different from a lot of other business certifications. The assessment results filter out the messiness of greenwashing* and similarly unreliable claims to provide metrics-supported proof that your company is doing good.
Benchmark to Improve
After completing the B Corp Impact Assessment, you will receive a score between 0 to 200 points- 80 points being the minimum to become B Corp certified. This score is a compilation of metrics measuring categories including governance, workers, environment, community, and impact business models for your company. Generating an initial baseline allows your company to benchmark your performance and set goals for future improvement.
There are many media outlets that wish to spread good. These publications are looking to share the B Corp experience with the world, because they understand that the triple bottom line approach breeds innovation. Blogs, trade publications, major newspapers, and magazines all seek to differentiate their reports from the masses, and the B Corp insignia and this which it represents can be that difference. Being B Corp certified highlights your business's unique characteristics, and that's what people want to read about. The press that can be generated through B Corp will ultimately lead to less marketing and advertising expenses as well.
When it comes to exit strategies, many triple bottom line businesses have concerns about losing the mission that they’ve built and executed for years. Becoming a B Corp certified business enables you to utilize legal language to protect your environmental and/or social mission in your business framework. That way, when successors take the reigns, they have tangible guidelines to maintain that mission.
Become Part of a Community
Once you join the B Corp network, you join a global knowledge base full of good ideas, great practices, inspirational stories, and motivated people. The B Corp network aims to be the one-stop shop for all products and services that emphasize the triple bottom line so that you know that when you hire services and purchase goods, you're supporting the greater good. Locally, Forsei Consulting is recruiting Philadelphia businesses doing good to their Collective. The Collective will host workshops, networking events, and happy hours to encourage local businesses to collaborate for the greater good of Philadelphia!
So what about our greater economy? Well, most of these reasons apply to that too. Take transparency for instance- a lot of our societal issues stem from a lack of transparency in our government and business practices. This certification makes businesses clear and honest about their mission and their practices.
The network of businesses doing good has an incredible impact on society-they challenge conventional practices and work to set the bar higher and higher with each innovation. The international, national, regional, and even local networks of B Corps help eachother out- they’re all playing the same game, reaching towards the same goal of creating a better planet, building stronger communities, and encouraging a more responsible economy. We're all in this together.
Have you ever considered pursuing a B Corp certification? What reasons were you thinking of certifying for?
*Greenwashing: disinformation disseminated by an organization so as to present an environmentally responsible public image.