You Need to Know What Certified B Corporations Are
Ben and Jerry’s once created a sundae weighing 27,102 pounds.
That’s quite impressive, but what’s more impressive is that Ben and Jerry’s, a well-known multinational for-profit enterprise, is also a Certified B Corporation® (B Corp).
What does it mean to be a Certified B Corporation?
According to the community of Certified B Corporations, “B Corps are for-profit companies certified by the nonprofit B Lab® to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.”
If you’re familiar with Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), or a corporation’s environmental and social initiatives, you have a basic understanding of the values that Certified B Corporations embody. But B Corps take CSR one step further by combining CSR with accountability — electing to be reviewed and assessed by a third party.
Who certifies Certified B Corporations?
The organization that reviews and certifies B Corporations is called B Lab®. B Lab is a nonprofit organization (501c3) that examines, certifies, and supports the global community of Certified B Corps — assessing each company on its social and environmental impact among other credentials.
In short, B Lab certifies employers who align the interest of their business with the needs of society. By doing so, B Lab recognizes and supports for-profit companies that care about more than just their financial performance.
Certified B Corporations are required to self-report against rigorous, evolving standards. Each Certified B Corp must be re-certified by an external body every two years. This third-party accountability ensures social and environmental consciousness that adapts as the world changes. B Lab utilizes assessment tools to help businesses measure and manage their impact on employees, suppliers, the community, and environment.
Why do B Corps matter?
Certified B Corporations matter because they use business to solve social and environmental problems. In doing so, they lead a global movement, redefining what success looks like in business — advocating for success beyond the bottom line.
By answering to public transparency and legal accountability, B Corps voluntarily measure themselves against some of the highest, verifiable standards in business. As a community of more than 2,100 socially and environmentally conscious businesses, B Corps are collectively shifting the for-profit business landscape.
This is good news for the workforce. According to a Deloitte survey, 74 percent of millennials believe multinational businesses should make a positive impact regarding economic and social progress, conflict, inequality, and corruption. B Corps actualize this common desire to do good in the workplace.
What do B Corps look like in action?
Our organization, Metis Consulting Group, became a Certified B Corporation in February 2017. As a management consulting and IT services firm in Central New York, we believe technology can be a force for good in both its practical applications and its practices.
The IT industry is infamous for its frequent lack of transparency and effective communication, with long hours and weak relationships. We are actively working to change this. Here are just five ways our B Corp certification manifests in our work:
- Paid maternity and paternity leave, highly subsidized employee medical and dental benefits, including free mental health support services for employees and their extended families;
- Flexible work schedules, work-from-home arrangements, and paid time off at well above the industry average;
- Wellness and leisure perks for things like gym memberships and fitness classes, travel, local restaurants, and sports and arts season tickets.
- Local suppliers and service providers enjoy preferred vendor status, and we screen all of our relationships for positive practices (e.g., environmental sustainability, women/minority owned business, B-Corp). As a proud Certified B Corp, we are transforming the IT industry, contributing to the Certified B Corporation movement, and positively impacting our local economy.
While the bottom line is important, environmental performance, accountability, and transparency matter. Organizations need to consider how they impact their employees and the community.
By meeting the rigorous standards established by B Lab®, the powerful community of Certified B Corporations® are solving social and environmental problems at an international level. As B Lab describes, B Corps are people using business as a force for good ™.