By Tiffany Tran
B Corp. You’ve probably heard it, you might’ve seen the ‘B’ stamp. As it begins to reach the mainstream on the level of avo toast, what does a Certified B Corporation status actually mean for brands and buyers? In short, B Corp is the crème de la crème of sustainability tick of approvals. It’s the only certification in the world that measures a company’s entire social and environmental performance.
Join the global movement
The late 1900’s heydey of businesses prioritising profits over the wellbeing of the planet is, well, not good enough anymore. The 21st-century sees the rise of “triple-bottom line” thinking – people, profit, planet – alongside the demand of the wellness industry boom (darn us pesky millennials, indeed). So in 2006, three friends left their business careers to create a new kind of nonprofit organisation called B Lab with one vision: “one day all companies will compete to not only be the best in the world but the best for the world”. The first 19 B Corps were certified in 2007, and today there are over 2500 of all sizes in 60 countries across 150 industries.
What it takes to become a B Corp
To achieve B Corp status, companies first tackle the rigorous B Impact Assessment where respected analysts verify the company’s impact on workers, customers, community, and the environment. It looks at everything like the supply chain, input materials, employee benefits, charitable giving, and revenue. Call it a universal set of rules, that’s updated triennially. Many don’t make the cut and it can take years to complete.
If the company meets at least 80 points out of 200 possible points, they’re in. But, they must also publicly share their report on the B Corp site and amend their legal documents to require its directors to balance profit and purpose. Of course, they must be in it for the long run. This combination of third-party validation, public transparency, and legal accountability is why B Corp is trustworthy.
And just so you know, even sustainable apparel juggernaut Patagonia didn’t receive A+ gaining an overall score of 151.50. “Our expectation is that no company will ever score 200 points,” says one B Lab founder. It’s a sobering reality, but more importantly, a brand who joins the B Corp community is proving: We’re using business as a force for good. We’re not perfect. We’re committed to improving.
Support local brands now
Home-grown brands that made the B Corp cut include made-to-order retailer Good Day Girl, designer furniture store Koskela, luxury bedding shop Elkie & Ark, vegan nail polish brand Kester Black, sanitary products companies TOM Organic and Who Gives A Crap, travel touring company Intrepid Group, and Byron Bay’s own Stone & Wood brewery. These are the brands working towards “reduced inequality, lower levels of poverty, a healthier environment, stronger communities, and the creation of more high quality jobs with dignity and purpose”.
You can check out the full B Corp directory here.
After all, the world’s issues can’t be solved by the government alone. B Corp harnesses the power of business and by supporting the growing community of B Corp brands, we help to create a new economy with a new set of rules. Imagine the day when “sustainable” is neither a niche or a trend and simply the standard. The planet and its future generations depend on it and will thank us for it.