Almost everyone seems to be “green” these days. From banks and carpet cleaning companies to manufacturers of branded products, a large percentage of companies (70 percent according to MIT) are making environmentally friendly claims. The green bandwagon is getting bigger and bigger by the day. While we take in thousands of brand impressions and clever corporate messages every day, it is getting increasingly difficult to sift through the claims and understand who is making legitimate efforts in sustainability. The reality is that sales of products featuring sustainable messaging are on the rise and most companies want a piece of the action.
So how can you be sure that you are choosing a company that is authentic in its commitment to you, its employees, its community, and to the planet?
Smart consumers are asking questions like: Would this company be socially and environmentally responsible if it wasn’t important to consumers? But even if you ask the right questions, it is really difficult to find the difference between “good companies” and good marketing.
Enter B Corps. The B stands for benefit. Benefit Corporations have chosen to be put through a rigorous impact assessment regarding their workers, suppliers, customers, community, governance and environmental impact. The impact assessment is a dynamic online questionnaire where a score from 0 to 200 is tabulated in real time. To reach certification status you must have a score of 80 or higher. All applicants are obligated to upload various corporate documents as well as company literature and policies ranging from employee handbooks to supply chain strategies.
Once your assessment is complete a representative from B Lab (the governing non-profit for B Corp Certification) reviews the assessment with you. Even though this isn’t the official audit committee, the representative skillfully challenges the answers on the assessment and adjusts your score accordingly. More than 8,000 companies have used the assessment tool, yet there are fewer than 800 Certified B Corps.
A little more about B Corps:
• B Corporations are recognized as legal entities in 20 states and 11 others are currently working on it.
• B Lab is the non-profit organization that oversees the B Corp certification, assessment and audits.
• B Corps have a greater level of transparency and accountability in their business functions and products/service.
• B Corps typically put the B Corp seal on their products, web pages and sales literature.
• B Corps have a greater purpose, focusing on a triple bottom line (people, planet, profits).
• B Lab provides the framework and support to continue to improve upon your score year over year.
• Patagonia, Etsy, Ben & Jerry’s, Dansko and Ogden Publications (the publishers of Mother Earth Living) are B Corps.
Put simply, B Corps are stewards of the world beyond their marketing team. B Corps are serious about using business to make the world a better place. They are authentic and accountable in how they conduct their business and serve their community. B Corps are working hard and working together to be a driving force in creating change. B Corps create a better future. B Corps are the future.
Look for the B Corp logo or visit Bcorporation.net to search for B Corps.
Steve Shriver is a pioneer and entrepreneur in the organic and sustainability movement within the United States. A longtime member of the Natural Products Industry, he has been in the natural skin care business for more than 14 years and is the CEO and founder of Eco Lips Organic Lip Balm located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. A green enthusiast, Steve initiated a solar power project by working through IRENEW (Iowa Renewable Energy Association), an initiative that turned into one of Iowa’s largest solar power projects, gaining immediate support from the State of Iowa, Alliant Energy and the Department of Natural Resources. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking, traveling, and hanging out with his wife and 3 daughters, as well as playing music, climbing mountains, running and doing yoga.
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