Innovation

What is success? Closing a sale? High profit margins? Happy customers? How about creating a better world? I believe the answer is all of the above.

Governments and nonprofits can’t tackle today’s most challenging problems alone. Business is the most powerful human-made force on the planet but for it to live up to its full potential, we need to use business as a force for good.

Certified B Corporations are leading this charge and using the power of business to solve today’s most pressing social and environmental problems. B Corps, like Patagonia, Kickstarter, Ben & Jerry’s, Warby Parker, Etsy and Plum Organics, speak with a powerful collective voice to inspire a race to the top and have developed tools already used by more than 35,000 businesses to manage their impact with as much rigor as their profits.

B Corporations are using the power of business to solve today’s most pressing social and environmental problems.

Certified B Corps are helping accelerate the transition to a more inclusive economy — one that connects capital to people’s needs and works for all for the long term. This will result in reduced inequality, lower levels of poverty, a healthier environment, stronger communities and more high quality jobs with dignity and purpose.

And you can join them.

B Corp Certification is based on three essential pillars:

1. Overall social and environmental performance


2. Legal accountability


3. Public transparency

 

It’s the combination of all three that makes the B Corp certification credible and unique. B Corps are certified by the nonprofit B Lab, much like Fair Trade certifies coffee or USDA Organic certifies milk. However, B Corporation Certification looks at the whole company — its impact on its workers, community and environment.

Certified B Corps are part of something bigger than themselves and join a vibrant community in which they can build relationships and collaborate with peers. Powerful female leaders, such as Kristin Richmond and Kirsten Toby of Revolution Foods, Jessica Alba of the Honest Company, and Noha Waibsnaider of Peeled Snacks, have all come together to create change. And for many, B Corp Certification is a smart business decision. B Corp Certification helps companies attract talent, build credibility with customers and the press, and preserve their mission over the long term. They set themselves apart by meeting the highest, third-party verified standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency – proving they are walking the walk.

Step One

So where do you start? The first step is to take free, online B Impact Assessment, which assesses the overall impact of a company on its workers, community and environment. To be certified, a company must earn a verified score of 80 points out of 200 and make their B Impact Report transparent on bcorporation.net.

Step Two

Next, a company must fulfill the legal requirement. Unlike traditional corporations, Certified B Corporations consider the impact of their decisions on all their stakeholders, not just shareholders. Meeting the legal requirement bakes sustainability into the DNA of a company, ensuring that the mission can better survive new management, new investors, or even new ownership. For many, this means amending their governing documents or adopting benefit corporation status.

Step Three

The final step is to sign a term sheet and the B Corp Declaration of Interdependence, a commitment to embody the values and aspirations of the B Corp community. B Corps pay an annual fee based on revenue, are eligible for a random on-site verification process, and re-certify every two years.

True success means competing to be not just best in the world, but best for the world. As a Certified B Corporation, you will become a leader of the global movement of people using business as a force for good. This is a powerful signal, to your customers, employees and the world, that you mean business and business means good.

Learn More About B-Corps.

Explore other business structures: CorporationCooperativeLLCPartnership, and Sole Proprietorship.

Katie Holcomb

About the Author


Katie Holcomb


Katie Holcomb is Director of Communications at B Lab, a nonprofit organization serving the global movement of people using business as a force for good. It’s vision is that one day all companies will compete to be Best for the World and as a result, society will enjoy a shared and durable prosperity. Katie specializes in creative approaches to communication and comprehensive campaigns and strategies that function across multiple platforms, including web, social media, email and print.