Big businesses are rarely considered to be the most altruistic of entities. Indeed, many have often gone out of their way to disregard the standards of social equity, sustainability, transparency, and accountability. Luckily, the modern age has put immense pressure on the ne'er-do-well conglomerates. This has given rise to more socially- and eco-conscious corporations. But what is a Certified B Corp, and what makes one any different from other business?
What is a Certified B Corp?
According to Business Insider, a Certified B Corp is a business that rejects the idea of “what’s good for business” and instead focuses on “what's best for everyone.” Each year, many businesses volunteer to be assessed by the nonprofit group B Lab for certification. Businesses that pass have met the standards set out by B Lab, and can display the Certified B Corp logo on their website and packaging.
What standards do Certified B Corps need to meet?
Certified B Corporations use their businesses to work towards a more sustainable world and a more inclusive and sustainable economy by lowering poverty levels, building up communities, and being mindful of ecological or environmental concerns. According to the Certified B Corporation website, certified B Corps are working towards a greater goal than meeting simple profit margins — they are actively trying to shift and redefine how business is currently being done.
Instead of using their resources to undercut competitors, manipulate the system, these businesses are leveraging their success in a way that lifts up everyone. By and large, companies that have achieved Certified B Corp status want the best for their employees, their business partners, their investors, and the world.
Right now, as you read this, there are real companies doing exactly that. These companies are making the world a better place and turning a profit doing it. They are creating products or offering services without overtly or inadvertently harming the planet. Best of all, they are using their influence and success to spur others to do the same. With any luck, this will render the old, unsustainable ways of doing business obsolete.
Of course, attaining Certified B Corp status does not mean a business meets every value that a consumer may have — there are many factors to consider when trying to shop ethically and sustainably.
What are some Certified B Corps?
According to the B Corporation Directory, there are about 3,500 Certified B Corps that are working to inspire positive change in the world. Here's an inside look into two of them:
According to Business Insider, outdoor clothing retailer Patagonia is one of those companies that literally puts its money where its mouth is. As a Certified B Corp, Patagonia imposes an Earth tax on itself, has given 100 percent of its profits from Black Friday to grassroots environmental nonprofits, and was named a UN Champion of the Earth in 2019: probably for the $89 million it has donated to environmental work since 1985.
There are many sustainable mattress brands out there, but Certified B Corp Leesa stands out as being one of the first direct-to-consumer mattress brands in that space. Nevertheless, it is Leesa’s strong social impact that gives the brand a leg-up on other sustainable mattress retailers. According to Business Insider, Leesa doesn’t just donate and devote resources to many national organizations, it also gives one mattress to someone in need for every 10 sold. Leesa also made the B List for Best in the World in 2019.
Why is it good to support Certified B Corps?
Why do you think that so few big businesses show the public what they’re all about? It’s because they know what they’re doing is wrong. Certified B Corps aren’t afraid to show their hole card because they know what they are doing is right. Supporting any one of these 3,500 certified B Corporations means supporting what they stand for. It means supporting socioeconomic issues, environmental initiatives, resource sustainability, and business transparency. And really, that’s what we’re all about.