If you’ve been seeking out sustainable products and eco-conscious companies, you might have noticed the logo of B Corp. Currently, around 2,500 companies worldwide are B Corporation certified, but what does it mean? And does it make a big difference to the eco credentials of a business?
B Corporation is a nonprofit organisation, based in Berwyn, Pennsylvania and with offices around the world. The aim of B Corp is to offer businesses a high standard to aim for to create a business model that is sustainable, fair and that offers a balance between profit and responsibility.
Companies carry out a voluntary test and need to score at least 80 of the 200 points to be considered for a B Corp certificate. They are then interviewed and evidence is required of any claims before the certification can be issued. But what does the certification measure?
Fairness for workers
Being B Corp certified means that a business values its workers and its place in the community. The company is tested on how it offers value to people’s lives, such as paying a living wage, or offering healthcare and education opportunities.
Essentially, B Corp is looking for proof that workers are treated fairly, work in sanitary and safe conditions and have opportunities to improve their lives if they wish.
Working with the community
Business has a key part to play in the development of the local community. So B Corp certification looks at how a business works with marginalised groups, such as the disabled or minorities. It also takes into consideration the supply network to ensure that the business holds its suppliers to account for their impact.
Having B Corp certification means that businesses consider their impact on the local economic and social dynamic.
As more people are becoming aware of their impact on the environment, so more people expect businesses to reflect their values. B Corp certification takes a look at the waste management of a company, how they manage their energy supply and how raw materials are sourced and managed.
In short, B Corp offers a high standard for environmental sustainability such as the use of renewable energy, a commitment to reduce waste and consider the impact of raw materials on the environment.
What kinds of businesses are B Corp Certified?
Any for-profit business can apply to be B Corp certified, so long as it has been trading for at least 12 months. As B Corp certification can highlight areas where a business is coming up short, the findings can actually help businesses to identify and improve their performance.
Everything from digital services companies to clothing and food businesses can go through the assessment to check their score. These companies may be marketing themselves as eco friendly, or they may simply be looking to add a badge of trust to their credentials.
You’ll likely have heard of businesses like Ben and Jerry’s, Seventh Generation, or Patagonia, who are some of the most high profile B Corp certified companies. But companies from around the world are getting wise to the fact that consumers want to be able to trust their product choice. From Danone, one of the world’s major food manufacturers, to Swiss eco shoe startup Baabuk – B Corp certification is becoming an important method to tell if the service or product you’re using has considered its impact on the planet.
So does it make a difference if a business is B Corp certified? If it matters to you that the people who make your food, clothes, cosmetics, provide your web hosting, or who put you up on vacation have considered the impact of their service on the world… Then the answer is a resounding yes.
Audrey Throne, the author of this post, is the mother of a 3-year old and a professional blogger by choice. Throne is passionate about lifestyle, business, automotive, technology and management and blogs frequently on these topics. Find her on Twitter: @audrey_throne.