We’ve got a strong affinity for B Corps — all three of our co-founders run B Corps; 4 of our 5 advisors are B Corp leaders; and more than 75% of our customers are certified B Corps. Turns out impact measurement and impact reporting are especially important to B Corps!
Since March is #BCorpMonth, we’re dedicating this month’s blog to this movement of business for good: some quick background, which will be new to some and a refresher for others, along with insights from our B Corp customers and advisors about what makes certification so special to them.
First, some quick facts:
- B Lab is the nonprofit organization that developed and runs the assessment and certification platform.
- When certification started in 2007, there were 82 founding B Corps. The movement grew organically, if slowly — in first five years, the number of B Corps globally registered 299 companies. The pace picked up over subsequent years with 2,000 companies achieving certification by end of 2017. It accelerated with the advent of the pandemic, more than tripling the number of companies over the past five years — there are now 6,502 certified B Corps around the world, with a large number in the pipeline.
- The B Corp certification measures a company’s social and environmental performance across five areas: governance, environment, community, workers, and customers. (Not coincidentally, we based the prototype of our impact measurement and reporting platform on these same areas.) Something to note — while the assessment is evolutionary in nature and changes from year to year, it will undergo a major overhaul soon.
- A certified B Corp is NOT the same thing as a benefit corporation. Want to understand the difference? Check out our article about benefit corporations.
- While most B Corps — like our customers — are small businesses, the profile is broadening: There are public companies (Allbirds, for example) and global corporations with annual sales in the billions (Natura & Co — also public, and with more than $36 billion in sales, the largest certified B Corp by that measure).
We could go on and on, but why not let our customers and advisors have a crack at things. For B Corp Month, we surveyed this stellar group with three questions, and here are their answers.
What motivated you to become a B Corp?
“I wanted to have a business, but I didn’t want to contribute to the assholiness of traditional business norms.”Beth Salyers, Custom Learning Atelier
“I was raised in a family business with employees who worked their whole lives for us but lived very different lives than we did. My family actively fought against and won the one labor action that would have unionized the workers. When I first heard about B Corps and their holistic and careful treatment of workers and the environment, it galvanized me to leave my job and start HigherRing and then make sure every employee is an owner and can take part in our long-term success.”Michelle Hirons, HigherRing
“The novel idea that business can benefit planet and people, rather than exploiting them!”Jennifer Piette, Narrative Food
“I quickly fell in love with what B Corporations were creating in the world through better business on purpose and I had to be a part of that world. I wanted to go to work every day feeling that I was making a difference in shifting the business ethos to sustainability.”Sirena Andras, Creative Chi
“As we expanded our impact, we began looking for ways to further establish our commitment to our mission and to continuous improvement. Becoming a B Corp has been a good fit for Tradewater. Like our fellow B Corp members, we are measuring our entire social and environmental impact while striving for progress over perfection. We are very pleased to join a community of over 6,000 B Corps across 86 countries, affecting about 500,000 workers.”Jenny Morgan, Tradewater
What’s the best thing about being a B Corp?
“The best thing about being a B Corp is knowing that we’re not alone in our belief that business can be used as a force for good. It’s not only comforting but also inspiring to know that there are thousands of other businesses across the globe, each finding their own ways to contribute to a newer, better version of our very broken system.”Stephanie Monmoine, Neighborhood Solar
“An instant connection with other sustainably motivated companies.”Annie Wissmiller, Measure Meant
“The best thing about being a B Corp are the people. I am constantly inspired by the dedication and passion to the movement by the leaders and staff of B Corps and B Lab. Getting to know and connect on so many levels with the different collectives and networks within the community is also fun and has forged lasting friendships.”Rose Penelope Yee, Green Retirement
“The recognition is growing. It was great to be in the earlier stages, I’ve seen B Locals growing and the community expanding and being collaborative. I’ll B Positive that the future is bright and more recognition for the good works companies are doing will foster more interest and expansion of the number of impact companies!”Kim Allchurch-Flick, Mighty Epiphyte
“Being part of an amazing and inspirational group of entrepreneurs, many of whom have become friends! Also, becoming a B Corp has helped me to stay true to my company’s mission and hold myself accountable to high standards of ethical and sustainable business practices.”Frank Scarpaci, Vianova Consulting Group
What advice do you have for companies aspiring to become a B Corp?
“Go into the process of certification with open eyes and a clear understanding of the effort involved. Earning a certification that is designed to recognize leading business is no small undertaking. However, if you’re committed and you’re willing to make improvements to your business as necessary, your company can become a B Corp. It’s well worth the effort.”Carolina Miranda, Cultivating Capital
“The survey is a grind, but it is so, so worth it, so persevere and have patience!”Rose Penelope Yee, Green Retirement
“First of all, you rock! Secondly, don’t wait! Becoming a B is a long, arduous, iterative & worthwhile process. Start now. Be realistic in your expectations, and in a year or two we’ll see your comments here too! I can’t wait! :-)”Lara Pearson, Brand Geek
“My advice would be to reach out to others and ask for help and support. We got so many great policy templates and insights from talking to other B Corps especially those in similar industries to us.”Justin Belleme, JB Media Group
“When you do the B Impact Assessment, give cross-my-heart-and-hope-to-die answers, not aspirational ones. This will set you up to know what kind of work you really need to do.”Elise Allyn, Conscious Revolution
“Build B Corp into your business strategy to get more value.”Annie Wissmiller, Measure Meant
“Make sure you’re making incremental change – you don’t have to do everything at once. Also, join 1% for the Planet because it’s a no-brainer, and do your impact reports through Unit of Impact!”Michelle Hirons, HigherRing