Certified B Corporations are a new type of businesses – they are using business as a force for good.
If you are looking for a way to prepare your business for the future, this article is for you.
Our failures are a painful but necessary teacher
The business landscape has a major influence on our world today. It is no longer acceptable to make money at any cost because it inevitably leads to an economic downturn. The latest example is the financial crisis which began in the USA in 2007 and lasted until 2009. We know now that selfish and greedy capitalism caused this recession with consequences felt worldwide. The housing industry collapsed, many Americans lost their homes and their jobs, over 230,000 U.S. businesses closed, the construction and manufacturing industries experienced double-digit losses in employment and European economies overall contracted.
The present is changing
The business environment encouraged and awarded a dog-eat-dog mentality among employees where there were no teams, but individuals competing with each other; where everyone had their own agenda and used all means necessary to come on top; where companies and corporations were looking to maximize profits by any means; where the interests of their shareholders came before the interests of their customers; where employees were easily replaced and rules were often bent at the expense of ethics and integrity.
What is the impact of your business?
Those days are long gone and fortunately, the business environment has learned its lesson.
We are living in the age of digital connectivity, transparency and instant access to news from all corners of the world.
Corporations and big companies no longer control the conversations around their products or their brand – their customers do.
We’re in the middle of a revolution and the customers are leading the charge. They are looking at the way businesses influence our world – for better or for worse. Is your business bad for the environment? Is your company producing plastic waste which has become a global problem? Are you helping communities to grow and have a better life? How do you treat your workers?
Certified B Corporations – using business as a force for good
In 2006, three friends – Jay Coen Gilbert, Bart Houlahan and Andrew Kassoy – left careers in business and private equity and created an organization dedicated to making it easier for mission-driven companies to protect and improve their positive impact over time – the Certified B Corporation.
Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.
B Corps are accelerating a global culture shift to redefine success in business and build a more inclusive and sustainable economy.
Here are the main goals of B Corporations:
- Reduce inequality;
- Lower the levels of poverty;
- Create a healthier environment;
- Build stronger communities;
- Create more high-quality jobs with dignity and purpose.
B Corporations use profits and growth as a means to a greater end: positive impact for their employees, communities, and the environment.
A business receives the B Corp Certification if it achieves a minimum verified score on the B Impact Assessment—a rigorous assessment of a company’s impact on its workers, customers, community, and the environment—and make their B Impact Report transparent on bcorporation.net.
Certified B Corporations also amend their legal governing documents to require their board of directors to balance profit and purpose.
There are currently 2788 B Corporations in 150 industries and 64 countries.
Here is how B Corporations stand out from other companies:
- They are 81% more likely to have transgender-inclusive healthcare coverage;
- The vast majority of B Corp employees are highly satisfied with where they work;
- B Corps are nearly 2x as likely for the majority of their managers to come from underemployed groups;
- They outperform other businesses by 16% on addressing climate change;
- 88% of service-industry B Corps allow flex-time schedules;
- They are 87% more likely to manage greenhouse gas emissions reduction;
- B Corps are 27% more likely to pay all of their hourly workers a living wage.
I first learned about the Certified B Corporation while researching Ecoalf, the first fashion brand in Spain to become a B Corporation. Sustainability is an important topic on BRAND MINDS blog and I addressed it by covering European companies which hold sustainability as one of their core values (you can find them in the Success Stories Series).
The second company I found was Certified B came as a surprise: Once Upon A Farm whose Chief Brand Officer is Hollywood actress Jennifer Garner. You can read about the company here: 3 Successful Businesses Founded by Hollywood Stars.
Here are other prominent B Corps and their overall B Impact score (which can range between 0 and 200):
- Patagonia Works, the leading outdoor apparel company which takes responsibility for their entire supply chain, pushing for just working conditions while protecting the environment (151); learn more about Patagonia in my article When Authenticity is Your Brand’s ….Brand
- Danone UK, North America, Egypt, Iberia and Canada, the food and beverages manufacturer (80);
- Hootsuite, the social media management platform (85); read Hootsuite: 5 Top Social Media Trends for 2019
- Natura, the Brazilian cosmetics company (120).
Do you want to measure your company’s impact on its workers, community, environment and customers?
Take the free B Impact Assessment!
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