Updated: Jun 15, 2021
Sustainable business is on the rise. Customers are increasingly becoming more aware of social issues and their impact on the environment. But, it still can be hard to understand which businesses are ethical and are those labels just for their image. Well, have you heard of B corporations?
Before we break down to you what B Corporations are, let’s first understand the importance of Sustainable Business!
Sustainable business is understood to put importance on profitability as well as social and environmental concerns upfront. Then, it’s pretty self-explanatory why sustainable business is critical. The past few years have highlighted our environmental issues. The rapid deterioration of our nature is raising major red flags to scientists worldwide, and we need to act on it now!
As individuals, we can start to pursue a lifestyle that is more sustainable. Buy meaningful and sustainable gifts for your significant other! You can also begin to educate yourself about everyday items that can increase microplastics in our oceans!
However, significant changes rely on brands and corporations being responsible for their actions. Though it is not rare that we find brands greenwashing their products to accommodate the current market. So, how can we make sure that corporations are being responsible for their actions?
The first and straightforward solution to this problem is to look for B Corporations. Now the question is, what are B Corporations?
Businesses certified as B Corporations are legally required to regard their impact on their workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment during decision-making. B Lab issues these certificates. As a non-profit organization, B Lab believes in the responsibilities and benefits of both stakeholders and shareholders. This view challenges the traditional values of the shareholder-centered view in business conduct.
B Lab declares:
That we must be the change we seek in the world.
That all business ought to be conducted as if people and place mattered.
That, through their products, practices, and profits, businesses should aspire to do no harm and benefit all.
To do so requires that we act with the understanding that we are each dependent upon another and thus responsible for each other and future generations.
“Society’s most challenging problems cannot be solved by government and nonprofits alone. The B Corp. community works toward reduced inequality, lower levels of poverty, a healthier environment, stronger communities, and the creation of more high-quality jobs with dignity and purpose. By harnessing the power of business, B Corps. use profits and growth as a means to a greater end: positive impact for their employees, communities, and the environment.”
— B Lab
B Lab issued their first certificates in 2007 and distributed their certificate to more than 3000 companies in 150 different industries. You should check out the industries they accommodate into the certifications. There is no excuse for you not to start looking for B Corp. certified businesses! Some of these companies include Patagonia, Tillamook, and even Ben & Jerry’s!
B Corporation Certified Brands
(P.S. You can also read more about Patagonia as a sustainable fashion brand here!)
Plus, B Lab also works hard to make sure that you, as the customer, are given full transparency for all the brands they’ve certified. For example, this Transparent Disclosure Report of Tillamook provides comprehensive information about the brand’s credibility.
But what are the requirements for a brand to be certified as B Corporations, and how can we ensure that this B Corp. certificate is also not just a PR stunt?
Companies that seek the certification must complete the B Impact Assessment, which measures the company’s positive impact on their workers, community, customers, and environment. The assessment foresees the impact of day-to-day operations and the company’s business model. The assessment then determines a numeric scoring. A total score of 80 across all impact areas (including governance, workers, community, environment, and customers) must pass the assessment.
In addition to the numeric scoring, companies will also undergo a Disclosure Questionnaire to assess the business’ positive impact, material negative impacts, background checks, and public complaint process. If for any reason, B Lab judges a company not to abide by its standards, B Lab may ask for further transparency from the company.
Well, what do you think? Living sustainably and responsibly has been made easier by B Lab and their effort of B Corporation certificate even more so if you live in America and Europe! (since B Lab has extended its wings to these regions). Understanding our impact on the future is essential, and we must start being more aware of what we consume.
Let’s start with you and me, and let’s choose better brands for our future!