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What Does it Mean to be a B Corporation?

We are in a new era of businesses

When I first heard of B Corp, I was excited but a not a little bit nervous that it was another way for companies to "Greenwash" and appeal to environmentally conscious customers.  

Thankfully, I was wrong.

What is a B Corporation?

Simply put, Certified B Corporations are companies that aim to do more than just make a profit. They understand and emphasize the impact that they have socially and environmentally, not just economically. However, they are still for-profit companies. Unlike Non-Profit Organizations's (NPOs), they use the power of the markets to make change, without relying on donors or governments.  

B Corporations do business the way business is supposed to be done.

I say this not because they are for profit, or because they are doing the right thing, but because by building a business with ethics, responsibility, and care at its core, they are creating a business environment where CSR is just part of business, rather than a marketing tactic. This enables buyers to reduce their impact and creates a culture of sustainability and care, that does much more than a charity or a CSR initiative can.

Why is this important?

This is the story of most of our lives:

We hear on the news every day that climate change is happening, and it is a result of human action. We feel partially responsible, but when we look at our lives, we are kind of stuck. We recycle, maybe even compost, when we can. We try to buy organic, but price is often a factor, or there simply isn't an "eco-friendly" option. Even when there is, it is often just a marketing move, not a truly environmentally friendly kitchen soap.  

So we're stuck. We can try to find responsible companies online and buy from them, but that isn't as convenient as the grocery store down the street, and most of the time it's not realistic.

But now, environmentally friendly businesses grow the same way irresponsible ones do - by addressing a need and having a great product. Using their power as a business for good, and finding new customers as a result, the system is starting to change. B Corporations get such a positive image, and so much publicity, that it makes market sense to invest in becoming one!  

And since their requirements are so strict, these businesses will genuinely be responsible across the board, creating a better business world.

Why should you become a B Corporation?

The B Corp movement is one of the most important of our lifetime, built on the simple fact that business impacts and serves more than just shareholders—it has an equal responsibility to the community and to the planet. -Rose Marcario, CEO of Patagonia.

If you're already socially & environmentally responsible company  

B Corporation is like a "stamp of authenticity" for ethical companies. There is so much fear of greenwashing in the market. The third party certification allows companies to show, and to be accountable for, their social responsibility.

73% of consumers care about the company, not just the product when making a purchasing decision." -BBMG

If you're not a socially & environmentally responsible company

You're lucky. You have an amazing opportunity to join this movement while it is still getting started.

B Corporations are leading the business revolution. Customers care more than ever about sustainability and responsibility. The clock is ticking on making this world a better place, and by becoming a B Corp, you can be a leader in your community and the world.

90% of Americans say that companies must not only say a product or service is beneficial, but they need to prove it." -Cone Communications

What does it take to become a B Corporation?

The application process is pretty straightforward. It is described on the company website, but we have summarized it here:

To get certified, a business must score 80 out of 200 possible points in a 150-question online B Impact Assessment. Companies are rated on everything from energy efficiency to employee programs to corporate transparency.

B Corp certification is available to companies with at least six months of revenue. Certification costs $500 to $25,000 annually, depending on company size; reassessment is required every two years. But a company can fill out B Lab's free self-assessment tool anytime to measure its impact on employees, the community and the environment and get details on more than 150 best practices.

The survey is pretty easy to answer, but the requirements to become a B Corp are high, and you can tell. If you have incorporated care for employees, environment, customers, and more into your company's mission since day 1, you have a very high chance of approval! If you are beginning the process of change now, however, it may take more time and dedication.

So is it really worth the effort?

Absolutely. Customers will love it. Employees will benefit. There are endless combined benefits. You will be able to show and verify all of the hard work you have put into building a sustainable and responsible business.

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