The B Corps Guide: Understanding the Sustainability Watchdog
You may have read my review on The Root Collective, but did you know they’re a certified B Corps? During my research into this stunning shoe and accessories line, I discovered that B Labs, a name I dimly recalled from years of research gone by, had grown substantially. B Labs’ B Corps Certification has become a behemoth of a watchdog in the sustainable community. We should be as aware of this certificate as we are of USDA Organic or Fair Trade. B Labs is working to raise awareness and hold businesses accountable — an important service which deserves our support. So, let’s take a look at SoCo Brands B Corps Guide.
“We have a dream that one day all companies will compete, not only to be the best IN the world, but the best FOR the world.”
-Excerpt from the B Corps Anthem
Who is B Lab?
B Lab is a non-profit organization that focuses on the certification of B Corps (B Corporations). The following is their simple, four-point mission statement:
Build a global community of certified B Corps
Promote Mission Alignment using the Benefit Corporation
Measure what matters by using the B Impact Assessment
Inspire millions to join the movement through B the Change Media
What does this mean for us, the consumers? B Lab is actively identifying and encouraging businesses to operate in a more sustainable way. The organization also takes into consideration the people and places involved. B Lab even offers education and assessments to companies that want to adapt to this new concept of “the bottom line”.
Going a step further, B Labs is working the legal angle by helping to pass legislature from state to state which allows companies to file as a Benefit Corporation. This is different than receiving B Corps Certification, which more closely resembles USDA Organic or Free Trade Certifications. A Benefit Corporation actually embodies the ideas inherent in certification within their corporate structure.
“We want to walk the talk and support the B Corp movement to make companies accountable to environmental, social and employee best practices.”
– Catchafire, Certified B Corps
What is a B Corps?
B Corps certification is awarded to businesses that achieve a certain minimum score from the B Lab assessment. All companies are assessed on a range of topics that revolve around the idea of being the change we want to see. As part of the Declaration of Interdependence, companies pledge to do better, in all areas, for all beings and places. This does not mean that every Certified B Corps is perfect. But, it certainly provides a place for the consumer to start their research. After all, B Corps are, at the very least, trying to be the change.
“We became a B Corp because we believe in authentic business practices that can produce change, and we wanted a measuring stick and roadmap for achieving our goals.”
– The Root Collective, Certified B Corps
If you’re part of a company, B Labs makes it easy to get the ground work started. Anyone in any company can initiate the change – so it’s up to you to get things going. If the B Lab handbook is anything to go by, there are a range of reasons, some financial, that you can present to your company’s executives and board members that make the transition make sense.
If you are a consumer, B Labs is a great starting place for finding companies that have a social and ethical framework built into their brand. Whether you’re looking to replace brands you already use, or you’re searching for new products and adventures, browsing through the master list of B Corps can be addictive. B Labs also wants you to use social media to get the message out – and as we already know, education is the most important part of the sustainable lifestyle.
How to be the change
“The B Corp model is a great one to provide the rigor and standards to ensure that we are living up to our own mission and that we push further.”
– Ben and Jerry’s, Certified B Corps
Remember that all companies are not necessarily eligible for B Corps Certification. But, that doesn’t mean they aren’t trying. For newer and smaller enterprises, B Corps may not yet be an option. The brand may be working towards achieving the minimums for entrance across the board, while currently excelling in specific areas. Reaching out to companies and brands you love about their commitment, and encouraging them to join the B Corps structure, can create a positive impact – an impact that you instigated.