For the March edition of our Best Practice Network Webinar Series, we talked with Vale Jokisch, Director of Services at B Lab about “Building Business to be the Best FOR the World.” B Lab is a nonprofit organization dedicated to using the power of business to address the world’s social and environmental challenges. Vale provided several insights on what it means to be a B Corporation and why it’s relevant in today’s world.
What is a B Corporation?
B Corps stand for more than just profit. They are companies that use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. Vale described the B Corp certification process by saying simply: B Corps are to businesses what LEED Certification is to buildings. B Lab is the organization that certifies these organizations, ensuring they reach higher standards of social and environmental impact.
How does a company become a certified B Corp?
A company becomes a B Corp by getting certified through the B Impact Assessment. The certification required three steps.
1. Take the free Assessment and score 80+ points out of 200.
2. Adopt B Corp legal framework into the DNA of your company’s mission.
3. Sign the Declaration of Interpendence and the B Corp term sheet.
Who is in the B Corp community?
There are currently 500+ B Corporations across 60 industries and 40 states. Companies range widely from having a social or environmental product focus, to companies that are drivers of regional sustainability and economic development.
Current Barriers to becoming a B Corp
Currently corporate law makes it difficult for companies to make an impact on sustainability and social causes. The focus for most companies is predominantly on shareholder value, with less legal ability to focus on social and environmental goals that the business may set out. There is also an ongoing issue to distinguish truly good companies from simply good marketing. These two concerns create an opportunity to move from shareholder to stakeholder value by becoming a certified B Corp.
Value of a B Corporation
B Corps allow companies to differentiate their brands, maintain company missions, save money, generate press, collaborate with other B Corps and improve and benchmark their performance. Even if a company does not qualify as certified B Corp, they can use the B Impact Assessment as a tool for benchmarking performance standards.
B Corps and Volunteering
From a research project completed by graduate students, it was found that 20% of all B Corps allow their employees 20+ hours per year to volunteer. Also, 25 Certified B Corps have more than 75% of their employees take paid time off to volunteer.
Carley Klekas is a Marketing and Insights intern at VolunteerMatch. Connect with her at @theearthygal or firstname.lastname@example.org.