As the values of customers change over time, so does the way businesses are run. Consumers are becoming more well-informed about the places they shop and are concerned with not only the company’s products and services, but also their overall impact socially and environmentally. Due to rising levels of competition and information availability, customers are looking to buy from companies that positively impact communities, their workers, and the environment. By becoming a certified B Corporation (or B Corp), for-profit companies can showcase their commitment to people, profits and the planet.
A B Corp is a certified business that is purpose-driven and able to meet high standards of transparency, social responsibility, environmental sustainability and reduced inequality. They are to use their profits in order to create better jobs, safer communities and a healthier environment. Some examples of B Corps include Ben & Jerry’s, Patagonia and Beautycounter.
It is not easy to become a certified B Corp. These companies must pass the B Impact Assessment (BIA), which is an 80-point bar that is evaluated and verified by the non-profit B Lab. There are about 200 questions on this assessment. This evaluation measures the impact a company’s business model has on its employees, community, customers, and the environment. To maintain certification, these scores must be updated every three years.
The length of time it takes for a company to become a certified B corp depends on the company’s size. The completion of the BIA can take several hours and verification of the results can take up to several months. This assessment can only be taken by companies that have been operating for over a year since the BIA measures performance over the last twelve months. However, companies that have less than one year of operations are instead able to apply for Pending B Corp Status.
3552 companies are certified B Corps. These companies are becoming ideal places to work for employees as well as desirable places for consumers to shop. While companies used to solely focus on profits, they are now trending towards a triple bottom line approach that considers the impact they have on people, profits and the planet. This is now becoming the standard that customers and employees not only expect but demand from companies.
Becoming a certified B Corp encourages companies to consider a more holistic approach to business and incorporate sustainability to every aspect of their practices. It helps to win over environmentally-conscious consumers as well as attracting committed employees through gaining a reputation as a great place to work. It can also help companies to cut down on operational costs by using sustainable energy sources that ultimately save money over time. B Corps provide many benefits for the company, employees, customers, environment and community they are a part of. They create value in both the environment and economy and show that business is about more than just profits.