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In a world divided between organisations who genuinely want to strive toward sustainability, those who pay it lip service, and those who bizarrely don’t think it’s important, B Corp Certification is a way of ensuring a level of commitment to sustainable practices that benefit businesses, their employees, customers and, of course, the planet.
You might have noticed the little badge on company websites advertising B Corp status and wondered what it is. Put simply, B Corp is a framework that companies can use to ensure they meet sustainability standards across their entire business. If they pass, they get accreditation lasting three years.
We’re seeing B Corps pop up all over the world now, and we went through it not too long ago, so we thought we’d give you a quick walkthrough.
The rise and rise
“Businesses fair better in a thriving society.”
B Corp has been around since 2007 and began with a total of 82 companies in the US. Today that number has risen to 2,500 in 50 countries worldwide and is growing rapidly. Famous holders include Patagonia and Ben & Jerry’s, and recently French food giant Danone announced their intention to achieve B Corp accreditation across all their businesses by 2025.
This is a significant milestone for B Corp as Danone is by far the largest company to ever use its framework, going through the process subsidiary by subsidiary.
Whatever a company’s size, however, they all seek to become B Corp and embody the values because, the way they see it, businesses fair better in a thriving society.
The B Corp Certification was developed and is awarded by B Labs, a New York-based nonprofit organisation who believe in the power of businesses to be a force for good. B Corporations are driven by more than the desire to maximise profits alone and look to benefit multiple stakeholders, not just shareholders, through their activities.
This is called stakeholder capitalism, in which the focus is switched to creating long term value and not seek short term profit at all costs.
To qualify for B Corp status, an organisation must pass and maintain standards with regards to workers, communities, the environment and customers. It’s a thorough process, assessing every aspect of an organisation and its impact.
This is a good thing though, a driver of transparency and positive change within organisations.
A stepping stone to something more radical
“A global movement of business leaders collaborating to transition to stakeholder capitalism or a B Economy.”
The clever folks at B Labs have got their eyes on something even more progressive, a global movement of business leaders collaborating to transition to stakeholder capitalism or a B Economy.
Through its global expansion network, B Lab Global, the organisation targets business leaders, campaigners and influencers in each region and adapts to local cultures (for a great read, here is the story of the only B Corp in Afghanistan).
Eventually, it’s hoped that this movement will grow until there’ll be no need for B Corp, it will just be the norm.
Going for B Corp
“We went for B Corp accreditation as a way of ensuring we meet high sustainable standards right through the organisation. It took quite a lot of energy but it is absolutely a worthwhile process. We continue to learn a lot, it is a great community and led us down the path of starting our own [community].” - Anders Ankarlid, CEO A Good Company.
If you’re a business owner or employee inspired reading this and want more info then feel free to reach out to us, or head over to the B Corp website. They’re great guys with a super dedicated and switched on team.