There seems to have been an increased focus on environmental and social issues within the last few years, and consumers have begun to take note. As a result, they demand more from today’s businesses on these topics, in terms of taking accountability for their negative contributions and changing their practices for the better. There’s a reason why the positive social and environmental efforts of businesses tend to be so heavily advertised on their products these days – consumers want to hear it!
One way that some companies can advertise their positive impact is by sticking a “Certified B Corporation” label on their products. The only problem is, not every consumer knows what that means.
What is a Certified B Corporation?
In short, a Certified B Corporation is a designation given by B Lab, a nonprofit organization, to businesses that demonstrate high levels of social and environmental responsibility, transparency, and accountability for their impact on all stakeholders, not just shareholders. Unlike a lot of businesses, B Corps aren’t only focused on profits, but on the triple bottom line: profit, people, and the planet.
How Can I Tell if Something is a B Corp Product?
If you want to support socially and environmentally-conscious organizations, then look for B Corp products. These products will be labelled with a “Certified B Corporation” symbol that looks like a capital B in a circle with a line underneath.
How Does a Business Become a Certified B Corp?
The exact route that companies must take to become Certified B Corps depends on their size and complexity, at least to an extent, but they all basically follow a similar process to achieve certification. You can check out the detailed 15-step process here, but if you’d rather not get too bogged down in the details, it can generally be summarized into the following 3 steps:
1) Demonstrate How Their Business Can Be Used for Good
As previously mentioned, if a company is chasing a B Corp certification, their bottom line has to be about more than just profits. They must also believe that their company is contributing some kind of good to the world, making it more environmentally friendly and inclusive to everyone. They should be able to clearly articulate their social and environmental goals, be accountable to all stakeholders, and be managed transparently in a way that allows B Lab to monitor their performance publicly on their website.
2) Take the B Impact Assessment
If the business feels as if they meet the requirements for B Corp certification, then the next step would be to take the free, confidential online assessment. The full assessment takes about 2-3 hours to complete, and gives a business access to its “B score”, which needs to be at least 80/200 in order to be eligible for B Corp certification.
3) Change Articles of Incorporation
The final step is for a company to change its articles of incorporation to reflect its commitment to the greater good. They have one year to do this after certification to show that these beliefs are really a part of their organization, and not just a good PR move.