July 10, 2019 | Education

The trend for more mindful consumption is ever-advancing. We’re reminded through social media, charity campaigns and from our most rad friends and family that we should vote with our dollars for the world we want. A Nielson global online survey found that two-out-of-three people will pay more for products or services from brands that make a positive social and environmental impact.

Brands like Unilever and IBM are leaning into this idea and have made significant sweeping commitments to minimize their footprints and create some good while continuing to make a profit.

If making a positive impact on the world fits your brand purpose and ethos, you might like to ratify your commitment by becoming a Certified B Corp. B Corps are for-profit companies that meet rigorous environmental and social standards by the nonprofit B Lab. As a B Corp, you deliver not just a product or service, but a new idea about what constitutes profit and success.

Why should I get certified?

Be a leader
Stay at the forefront of a progressive movement towards transparency and accountability.

Attract great people
Finding and keeping qualified, hardworking people is often high up on the list of challenges entrepreneurs face. Value alignment can help keep the best people. Use B Corp’s job board to find candidates actively seeking to do good in the world.

Amplify your voice
Use the B Corp seal tell an instant story about your values, differentiate yourself from others in your sector, and show that you’re dedicated to making a positive impact. 

Build your network
You’re encouraged to connect with other B-Corp leaders through the online community, ‘B Hive.’ Meet other business leaders in person at events and connect with potential clients and vendors who share your values.

How do I go about it?

We won’t lie; the assessments take time and a real commitment. You can expect the process to take around six months with a lot of paperwork and evidence gathering.

Can you say ‘yes’ to the following questions?

Community: do you have positive supplier relations, diversity in your workforce, and are you servicing your community?

Environment: have you put a plan in place to be sustainable with your facilities, materials, emissions, and resource and energy use?

Customers: are your products and services promoting the public good?

Workers: are your workers compensated fairly and given benefits, training, flexibility, and ownership opportunities?

Governance: has your company adopted a social or environmental mission?

If so, you can start by taking the B Impact Assessment.

If you score well on the assessment, you can schedule a review call with a member of the B Lab team and submit supporting documentation.

When everything looks good, you have your full assessment call with B Lab (60 – 90 minutes) about your documents and clear up any outstanding questions.

Afterward, if you score 80/200 or above on assessments in the five areas, you’ll be invited to submit your final evidence supporting the practices you discussed on the assessment call.

Once you’ve done that, and completed a disclosure questionnaire and signed the B Corp Agreement, the nonprofit will do a final background check.

Phew! It’s a long process, but it’ll be worth it.

Any downsides?

If you’re an LLC, you do not need to worry. If you’re a C-corp or S-corp, you might need to become chartered as a benefit corporation. Although it shouldn’t cost you any more in taxes, it is a whole other process. B Corp has this requirement because traditional corporate law requires that directors place profit above all else.

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