Have you noticed the trend that more and more companies are using the term “B Corp”? Maybe you’ve seen the B Corp symbol popping up in store windows, grocery bags, and on websites?
Since we’re in Portland, Oregon, let’s focus on B Corps create, innovate, and impact Oregon specifically. A Certified Oregon “B Corp” is defined as a for-profit company, certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. This certification was created for companies that don’t have or want to be exclusively a nonprofit, or a for-profit. It’s an identifier for companies who weave a social impact into their mission, who want to demonstrate those commitments by meeting certain criteria. The Certified B Corp provides a unique solution to a typical business conundrum. Under B Corp Certification, companies can make impact and profit.
A B corp is not the same thing as a certified B Corp. An Oregon Benefit company or B corp is a type of corporation or limited liability company that wants to consider its impact on society and the environment in the business decision-making process, in addition to earning a profit. They are an unique business entity in the eyes of the IRS. And BCorps are getting even more popular! As of 2016, a whopping 31 countries now observe a benefit company as a legal entity. To learn more about the distinctions between Certified B Corps and a B Corp, check out this site.
Saudi Davis, the founder of Greenhouse Eco-Cleaning, gives a friendly overview on the process of getting certified. In this Huffington post article, she discusses the performance and legal requirements of a B Corp certification.
What other aspects are beneficial to a company that becomes Certified B Corp? A lot of perks such as:
1) Attracting and generating the right kind of marketing
By letting your audience know what you stand for and the mission behind your company, you naturally attract partners, clients, and employees with the same values.
2) Being connected to other value-minded businesses:
B Corps are attracted to each other and are encouraged to support and share with each other. In the business world, it’s nice to know you’re in good company!
3) It improves your business
Challenging your business to the set of standards upheld by other B Corps only improves your business. The rigorous standards will keep your business more accountable, and your customers will appreciate another demonstration of your integrity.
4) The business itself has more control over the company
By becoming a B corp, your business declares the dedication to valuing the interests of stakeholders as much or more than the stakeholders themselves. This provides some protection against pressure from investors and allows you to focus on your values, including people, planet, and profit.
I hope this has helped educate you on what a certified B Corp business is and what’s the motivation behind the certification. I’m excited to see more and more businesses raise the bar and challenge each other to focus on their mission and values and lean more towards a social enterprise playing field.
Do you have a favorite B Corp, or love what one in your state is doing? Let us know on Twitter!