A Force for Good
Businesses and organizations have major influences in our lives as well as provide us products and services that keep us fed, sheltered, clothed, and entertained. Of course, businesses and organizations influence economics, politics, and a myriad of other sectors. Their influence is undeniable on a global scale all the way to a micro and local scale. So, can that huge amount of influence be used for good? B Lab, the creator of the B (Benefit) Corporation Certification, says yes. B Corporations, or B Corps for short, are companies certified by B Lab as businesses that meet a certain threshold of corporate responsibility.
Many of us have heard of S-Corp and C-Corp which apply to a business’s tax structure and are regulated by the IRS. B Corp is different in that it is a voluntary application process and certifications are overseen by B Lab, which is not a federal government entity. B Lab has expanded its platform of business as a force for good to its nearly 4,000 B Corps around the world.
Becoming a Certified B Corp
Businesses with a desire to join the B Corp movement must go through the application process. The application covers all areas of the business including how the business impacts its local environment, employees, and clients.
B Corps are scored on a scale of 80 to 200. Businesses may have room for improvement in these areas which their scorecard will reflect. B Corp encourages and provides a platform for improving your business’s score. Businesses gain points in a multitude of ways. These include providing employees with generous benefits, donating to charitable organizations, promoting alternative transportation and general wellness among employees. Additionally, businesses can incorporate sustainability measures into their supply chain and procurement processes to gain points on the B Corp scorecard. Applications and points may vary based on industries and locations.
In the spirit of transparency that B Lab promotes, each Certified B Corp scorecard is public in the B Corp Directory which can be explored here. Small businesses as well as multinational corporations are able to apply and gain certification. The application process, requirements, and fees will change based on a business’s qualifications.
B Corps Around the Globe
Certified B Corps are quickly spreading around the world and are now in 70 countries. Individual B Corps are powerful forces but thousands of B Corps can accomplish even more. The collective effort of these thousands of businesses is the impetus needed to create the B Economy that B Lab envisions. Certified B Corps have the backing and support of B Lab to market their values of transparency and responsibility to their individual circles of influences.
Patagonia is one of the most recognizable Certified B Corporations in the world. Their efforts to reduce waste in the apparel industry that is infamous for waste. Patagonia has a current 151.4 on its B Corp scorecard. It scored highest in the Supply Chain Management category, which is impressive for a company that would seemingly require a large amount of raw materials. Another impressive note on Patagonia is their ever increasing scorecard since becoming certified in 2011. They have also gained awards over the last few years and been the poster child of constant improvement.
B Corp in My Backyard
Near me, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a local Certified B Corp is The Bama Companies. They are famous for the Bama Pie and have a large presence in the Tulsa area. Bama was certified in 2017 and currently has a scorecard of 82.4 points. Bama is well known for its efforts of hiring locally and upholding its mission of “people helping people be successful”. A woman owned business, Bama lives out diversity and inclusion values in its supply chain and hiring. Like most B Corps, Bama markets its status as a Certified B Corp on its website and does a good job of explaining what a B Corp is to website visitors that may not be familiar.
Supporting B Corps
Are you interested in supporting B Corps now? I hope so. The first step to doing so is finding B Corps near you or ones that provide services and products you plan on purchasing. This could be for you individually or for your business. The B Corp Directory linked above is an amazing resource for finding Certified B Corps by location and by industry. Even if you don’t plan to purchase their services or products, you can share a company’s initiatives on social media and within your networks.
Living Out B Corp Values
Furthermore, you can work on instilling B Corp Values in your own workplaces and communities. There are many immediate improvements that individuals and businesses can make that are low cost. Planning for future improvements based on B Corp Values can begin anytime, and there is no time like the present. By living out B Corp Values and choosing to patronize Certified B Corps, you are demanding transparency and responsibility from all businesses that are seeking out your dollars.
Businesses often have greater ability to enact change than individuals working on their own. The resources, influence, and human power available to businesses and organizations gives them a greater responsibility to create positive change in their workplaces and communities. Certified B Corps showcase an innate desire to be a positive change. The B Corp platform gives them credibility and marketability as well as opportunities to continue improving their positive influence. B Lab has created the movement of business as a force for good that cannot be stopped. It will continue to expand and set the standard for business’s responsibility to the rest of the world.
I hope this blog post brought you value. Thanks for reading the whole thing!