What is a Certified B Corporation? Here’s What You Need to Know
Many people are familiar with symbols such as the Fairtrade Mark, Vegan, Gluten-free symbol when wanting to make cinnamon waffles or even the organic symbol created by the USDA Association. These are typically on the packaging of products people buy; these symbols are a pretty good indicator of what the consumer can expect. Plus, people know what these symbols mean.
But what about the B Corp logo, also known as the “Certified B Corporation” logo? Chances are, you’ve seen this one for yourself, and maybe you’re wondering what it is. So keep reading to learn more about the B Corp and what it means for businesses and consumers.
What is a Certified B Corporation?
So, what exactly is a Certified B Corporation? This name is commonly known as “B Corp,” and it’s still relatively new. It’s essentially a type of company. The B Corps will voluntarily work towards meeting very high environmental and social standards. Companies want to focus on helping the environment and standing for social causes (think ethical practices).
The certification process for a company to be labeled “B Corp” is quite rigorous too. The company will have to complete a comprehensive assessment. This will include how the company impacts the stakeholders, plus an assessment that needs to occur from the verified B Lab, the nonprofit that created the B Corp certification.
Naturally, a company is going to want to give priority to financial profitability. This is entirely understandable from a business standpoint. While this is standard and can even be seen as traditional, the B Corps will try to seek out the bottom line. This means that they use their power and their resources to help environmental and social problems that are happening. This is obviously quite inspiring, which is why more companies are working towards becoming B Corp certified. But of course, plenty of challenges can potentially arise when a company is working towards this.
What’s so Special about Certified B Corporation?
Generally, the B Corp companies undergo a hefty certification process that takes a lot of time. This process improves their performance and impact and also helps prove their dedication. The B Corps are working towards accelerating a culture shift globally. It’s all about redefining what success means. It’s also about working toward building something more sustainable, something inclusive, and something economically-feasible.
One way to look at it would be that the B Corp Certification is similar to the USDA Organic certification in that products such as packaged corn on the cob or the Fair Trade symbol seen on items such as chocolate or non-edible products.
Related: The Produce Challenge
To sum it up, B Corps are businesses working towards being a part of the solution in the world. As many companies are a part of the problem, the B Corps are fighting that and are committed to advancing for the greater good.
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What is B Corp Certification?
As briefly mentioned earlier, the third-party certification is called the B Corp Certification. This certification is the standard by which the company is then evaluated based on its impact on the stakeholders. If a company decides to pursue this, it will also need to work on its B Impact Assessment too. The entire framework is based on sustainability, and it’s to help companies show that they’re actually doing good rather than using greenwashing tactics.
Since B Corp Certification focuses on the stakeholder rather than the shareholder, this helps in recognizing that there needs to be responsible for impacts. It’s not about generating as much profit as possible. The Certified B companies can’t focus on making money through exploitation, harming people, or the environment. The purpose is to have businesses go beyond profits as a motive, to have motives for helping the world and the people.
Is There a Difference Between Benefit Corporation and B Corp?
It’s entirely understandable that there can be a mix-up between B Corp and a Benefit Corporation. The commitment that a company has to the stakeholders must be included within the legal organization of which a company. It’s only been fairly recent that a structure was created. Before that, there used to not be any specific corporate form for a company that wanted to make an impact on stakeholders over the profits. In most states, there now is.
So, what are the differences between the two? Well, the B Corp is where a business will earn a certification from the B Lab for scoring 80 points or more from their assessment. While a Benefit Corporation is when a company adopts a corporate form that gets legally recognized. A company can become a Benefit Corporation but not a Certified B Corp and vice versa, and a company could even obtain both.
How Can Businesses Meet the B Corporation Certification Requirements?
Are the B Corporation Certification Requirements hard to obtain? There are some fairly high standards that a company will need to meet. This will include needing to be transparent about the environment and social responsibilities. In addition, the company will need to be in operation for a year. However, start-ups can apply as well. Plus, there need to be 80 points out of 200 on the Impact Assessment.
So, you can technically pass the B Corporation certification just by earning less than the 50% available points on the assessment. That doesn’t sound like much, but considering the high standards and how strict B Corp is, it balances out. The whole process is meant to be challenging, as it’s only meant for the best companies to implement.
Should Consumers Support B Corp Companies?
Yes, consumers should support B Corp certified companies! While many companies say they are working on making ethical, environmental, or social changes, it’s clear that some of them don’t practice what they preach. Instead, more companies implement greenwashing tactics to have positive PR and boost their sales. But with, the rigorous certification process behind B Corp, and the strict guidelines that need to adhere to, only show that not every company can quickly get this label.
They’re fully committed to being a reasonable force within society and looking for ways to make a positive impact. This is even backed up by transparency, as all B Corp Certified companies need to be transparent. You can even check out the B Corp directory and see results.
Whether you own a company that strives to be B Corp Certified, or you want to better support companies that strongly focus on helping others, that’s great! We have a long road ahead on the journey to sustainability, and every action meant for the greater good will help out in the long run. Work, lifestyle, and even what you feed your family will all add up and make an impact!
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