So you want to become a B Corp?
15 Mar 2019
It’s been some time since we wrote about what it means to be a B Corp, so this month we’re excited to bring you the first installment in Accerta’s series on Canadian B Corps. In addition to sharing profiles of some organizations shaping the future of sustainable business in Canada, we’d like to offer you some resources for starting your own B Corp journey, whether that involves certifying your own business or practice, seeking out companies with values similar to your own to support, or finding your next job opportunity at a company that prioritizes its people.
What started the B Corp movement?
The B Corp movement was conceived in 2006 by a trio of friends who believed business could be a force for positive change in the world. Their goal, co-founder Jay Coen Gilbert told Ethical Corporation, was to create something that would “assist in supporting and uplifting all the entrepreneurs and investors around the world that were trying to use their business for a higher purpose than just maximizing personal wealth, but more to create, sort of, community health.” They founded a social enterprise, B Lab, and designed an assessment that would measure how each business fared on a number of social, environmental and ethical criteria, including factors like vacation policy, paid volunteer opportunities, carbon footprint and more. Those that pass the assessment with 80% or better become certified B Corps. Today, there are more than 2,655 B Corps, across 150 industries, in 60 countries. (We’ll be profiling several Canadian B Corps later in this series.)
Can any organization become a B Corp? Where do I start?
Any for-profit entity committed to balancing profit with purpose can become a B Corp as long as it undertakes and passes the B Lab Assessment every three years. Those that rank in the top ten percent of the assessment get to join the ranks of B Lab’s “Best for the World.” Companies of all sizes have made the commitment, from behemoths like Ben & Jerry’s, Patagonia and Danone to SMEs like Persephone Brewing, a craft brewery on BC’s Sunshine Coast, and Guayaki, an organic beverage company specializing in yerba mate products. The process involves a couple of moving parts, so once you’ve made your case to your leadership team and they’re on side, this webinar on the certification process can help you create your roadmap to certification. There is a whole resource library available at BCorporation.net to help both with certification questions and leveraging B Corp status once it’s achieved.
What are the advantages?
According to research by Cone Communications, 63% of respondents were hopeful businesses will take the lead in the future to drive social and environmental change in the absence of government regulation. In an age where people are increasingly evaluating and deciding to support brands that reflect and are committed to values aligned with their own, becoming a B Corp shows potential customers and partners that you’re a solutions-focused, socially impactful business. It’s also a great recruitment tool. Millennial and Gen Z job seekers are prioritizing purpose in the companies they work for — B Corp certification signifies that your company cares about both improving the world and providing meaningful work and a comfortable experience for employees. Have questions about B Corps or the certification process?