The B Corp
Don’t know what a B Corp is? Not to worry, most people don’t… yet.
In simple terms, “B Corps are a new type of corporation which uses the power of business to solve social and environmental problems.” – B Labs.
There are currently 631 certified B Corps generating over $4.2 billion in revenues in 60 industries and 15 countries. Certification for B Corps comes from a nonprofit called B Labs. They have a great site with lots of information about B Corp history, purpose, process and plans. Here’s the link.
The certification process covers four key areas – Governance, Workers, Community and Environment. Organizations must demonstrate their commitment and track record in each of these areas to obtain and maintain certification. This means that B Corps are committed to to governing themselves in a manner that leads to positive impact, treating their team members well, supporting their community and protecting the environment. B Corps go so far as to sign a Declaration of Interdependence that states they will “harness the power of private enterprise to create public benefit.”
Wondering if you do business with a B Corp and don’t know it? Here are a few examples with B Labs descriptions and links to their assessments:
- Patagonia – Patagonia grew out of a small company that made tools for climbers. Alpinism remains at the heart of a worldwide business that still makes clothes for climbing – as well as for skiing, snowboarding, surfing, fly fishing, paddling and trail running.
- Etsy – Etsy is the marketplace we make together. We enable people anywhere to easily build and directly exchange with independent, creative businesses.
- Care2 – With more than 12 million members, Care2 is the largest online community of people making a difference in healthy and green living, human rights and animal welfare.
Want to learn more? GOOD has a great info graphic that tells the B Corp story and progress. You can check it out here. You will see that there has been steady growth in the number of certified B Corps, states supporting legal B Corp status and businesses using the B Impact Assessment. Philanthropegie also has information about B Corps on our site.
Wondering about growth? Last week I learned that B Lab announced its commitment to certify 100 B Corporations outside the U.S. in 2013, responding to demand from entrepreneurs around the world to join the B Corp movement. This announcement was made at the CGI 2012 (Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting) PR Newswire (http://s.tt/1ojqS)
Most of us are used to a more black & white view of organizations. They either exist to make money (for-profit) or to make the world a better place (nonprofit). With B Corps, we see the lines blurring into a very interesting shade of gray. These are organizations who are as committed to social and environmental good as they are to profits. And, with a for-profit business model, the positive impact these organizations have is not dependent on donations, grants and volunteers.
This is a different paradigm. One that Philanthropegie is excited about. I hope you are too.