You might not have heard about B CorporationTM before, but you’ve probably passed over the logo hundreds, if not thousands of times. B Corporation, or B CorpTM for short, represents leaders that meet the highest standards of social and environmental performance that use their companies to solve social and environmental problems, and redefine success in business.
To certify, businesses take the B Impact Assessment to measure their impact across five main categories, and reach a minimum score of 80 points to apply for certification.
B Corp launched in 2006, including a few BC companies such as Fairware and Lunapads. Many of them have achieved the Best For the WorldTM status, awarded at the annual B Champions Retreat, held each year in a different city around the world.
Deciding to Become a B Corp
I first heard about B Corp when I attended a roundtable event on triple-bottom line business, facilitated by Lunapads Founder Madeleine Shaw. At the time, I had just decided to rebrand my PR firm to focus on working with more values-centric businesses, so B Corp peaked my interest. But, I decided that it wasn’t a good time for me to pursue certification and filed it away. The idea came back to me at the end of 2014 when I attended a panel event featuring B Corps in the health space. It was then when I picked up the The B Corp Handbook.
Taking the Assessment
In early 2015, I sat down for an hour and ploughed through the assessment, achieving a score of 40. I had some work to do. But, that’s what’s great about B Lab – they provide notes on how you can build points in the various areas to achieve a higher score. So I got to work and over the course of a few months I:
- Published a public-facing Mission Statement and Annual Report
- Formed an official Board of Advisors
- Became a member of 1% For the Planet
- Monitored my home office energy and water usage
At 69 points, I didn’t know what else I could do to reach 80, so I scheduled my first assessment review in May 2015 with an Analyst from B Lab.
By going through the review process, I earned another six points, and was given homework to do for the final five points, including amending my Articles of Incorporation. In Spring 2016, I was invited to my first B Local Vancouver breakfast, where certified B Corps in BC convene each month. It was inspiring to hear about what they were doing as a collective and reinforced my enthusiasm to become certified.
Becoming Part of the B Corp Community
In May 2016, we were certified! It was just in time for me to attend the first B Corp Leadership Development Conference held in Vancouver, where I saw first-hand how vibrant the community was in the Pacific Northwest.
People have asked me about the ROI of certifying, and I tell them that this is something that you can’t just measure with dollars. It’s about being a part of a movement whose leaders will use their business as a force for good in the world in the next five, ten, and twenty years down the road.
Certifying does have tangible benefits. Since May, we have attracted potential staff and clients alike who share our values. And of course it offers a talking point for media who have started to talk about the importance of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and sustainability in business. There are event outlets specializing in these topics now, such as B Magazine, Conscious Company Magazine, and GOOD.
A Growing Movement
In January 2017, B Corporation announced that it had passed the 2,000 mark in certified companies around the world. It makes me proud to own not just one of the first PR companies in Canada to be a certified B Corp, but one of over 2,000 certified B Corps in more than 50 countries around the world.
I’d highly encourage any company that cares about people and the planet – as well as profit – to consider B Corp certification and take the free B Impact Assessment online. To learn more, visit bcorporation.net.