B Corporations: companies you will love working with
Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.
What do you look for when searching for a new role? Is it a nice salary or an ingratiating job title? What if the company you worked for reflected your values?
The triple bottom line approach challenges traditional economic thinking. It elevates the role of corporations as sole profit maximisers to ones that are also committed to social (people) and environmental responsibility (planet). Individuals like Tim Cook are strong believers that corporations must be the ones to address social issues, in part due to their ability to move faster than governments.
“Business has an important responsibility to society and that has grown markedly in the last couple of decades as government has found it more difficult to move forward and get as much done.”
B-Lab is a non-profit organisation that was founded in 2006. With similar beliefs to Tim Cook, the organisation came about to address the underlying issue that the most challenging problems we are facing cannot be solved by governments and non-profit organisations alone.
The organisation certifies companies meeting the highest standards of transparency, accountability as well as environmental and social performance. Since 2006, more than 3,700 companies across 150 industries and 74 countries have been certified as B Corporations.
Renowned brands such as Patagonia, Danone and Ben&Jerries have pursued and obtained the B-Corp accreditation. Knowing this should make your next ice-cream indulgence that much sweeter!
How can companies become B-corps?
Aspiring B Corporations are required to complete the B Impact Assessment and earn a score above 80 out of 200. To give you a better idea of what that means, the median score for ordinary businesses would be 50.9 points. I’ll let you imagine how the “worst” companies in the world with regards to environmental and social sustainability would score.
Companies are evaluated across a range of five criteria; Governance, Workers, Community, Environment and Customers.
- Governance: The policies and practices developed by companies to promote their mission, increase transparency and accountability whilst ensuring ethical decision-making.
- Workers: How companies contribute to the financial, physical, professional and social wellbeing of their employees.
- Community: Reflects the way in which companies contribute to the economic and social wellbeing of their communities.
- Environment: Encapsulates the impact companies are having on the environment as well as strategies they are developing to minimize their contribution to climate change.
- Customers: Proving your company is proactively working to improve the value of the goods and services it provides to its end users.
Each section covers a wide range of sub-topics such as caregiver leave policies (workers), the monitoring of greenhouse gas emissions (environment) or measurements of workforce diversity (community).
Upon reviewal by B-Lab of the B Impact Assessment, companies with a verified score of more than 80 points will be certified as B Corporations. Thereafter, their legal structure and frameworks will be amended to ones that commit the company to pursue the triple bottom line approach to business mentioned previously.
What I love the most about the B-Corp accreditation is that it doesn’t stop once you’ve been certified. Companies are reassessed every three years to prove they have still have a score above 80. B-Lab actively encourages companies to go above and beyond and improve their score. For example, Patagonia scored 107.3 when they were first evaluated in 2011. Since then, their score has climbed to 151.4, making them one of the best rated B-Corps.
Companies wishing to become B-Corps should be prepared to engage in a long but incredibly rewarding project. Beyond aligning the purpose of your organisation with environmental and social performance, many benefits accrue to B Corporations. The accreditation is a strong signal to prospective and mission-aligned individuals, helping companies attract the best talent. Following certification, companies gain new opportunities to market and differentiate themselves from competitors in their industry. As B-Corps love working with each other, it can also be an avenue for new business opportunities. Lastly, and especially for young companies, the B-Corp accreditation process can be a guiding light to scale your business while adhering to best-in-class standards from the outset.
So what can you do?
If you’re currently job-hunting and searching for companies proactively working to improve their environmental, social, and corporate governance performance, you can check out B-Work. This job board will connect you with B-Corps actively hiring worldwide.
Alternatively, if you’re already working for a company you love, why not be the force that drives it to become a B-Corp? One internal conversation is all you need to get things started.