If you’re already a conscious and/or sustainable consumer, you’ve undoubtedly bought from brands or companies with the encircled B logo. This little black B notes a brand as being a certified B corporation. Often, this notation is nestled alongside other environmental and health forward certifications such as certified vegan, cruelty-free, fair trade or organic.
But have you ever stopped and wondered, what the heck is a B Corporation? Up until a few months ago I truly had no idea what it meant – based on the products it graced, I figured it had to be a good thing – but I wanted to know more. So I decided to do some light research and gain a better understanding of what exactly the Certified B Corp title meant.
What is a B Corp?
According to the B corporation’s website, “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. B Corps are accelerating a global culture shift to redefine success in business and build a more inclusive and sustainable economy.”
Which basically means B corps strive to be catalysts in the movement for more ethical and sustainable business practices as opposed to waiting for government policy to change. To become B corp certified a company must go through a rigorous application and evaluation process that measures their environmental and societal impacts, their legal standing and their transparency. In order to be approved they must have procedures in place and operate in a way that strives for positive global impact. Additionally, they must reapply every two years to ensure they are maintaining their standards.
Why This Matters
Sure, there are plenty of non-profits and spokespeople out there pioneering and pressing for change and equality across the globe – but what has a lot of push, pull and power in our world? Money. And who has that money? Business. Certified B Corps use their global business power for the better – by igniting change from the inside. Fair wages, safe ethical workplaces, reduced inequality and a better environment are among the goals and commitments of certified B corporations. So by supporting B corp businesses, you support the commitment to positively impact employees, communities and the environment.
So What Companies Are Certified B Corporations?
The B corps website has an awesome directory for searching and discovering the thousands of companies who are certified. Odds are, you know of at least a few B corps. A few of my favorites (and some other notables):
- Stasher Bag
- Dr. Bronner’s
- S.W. Basic’s of Brooklyn (LOVE the Rosewater)
- Alima Pure Cosmetics
- Seventh Generation
- Stumptown Coffee Roasters
- Wild Friends
- The Alchemist Brewery (so elusive)
- Stonyfield Organic
- Navitas Organics
- Vital Farms
- Garden of Life
- Purely Elizabeth
- Yogi Tea
- Jim’s Organic Coffee
- Manitoba Harvest
- Nellie’s Free Range
- Pete & Gerry’s Organic Eggs
- Fish People Seafood
- New Belgium Brewing
- Traditional Medicinals
Just to name a few, right? While most of these brands are of the food/drink/wellness/home realm, these categories are just a fraction of the businesses comprising the entire B Corp network. In fact, there are over 2500 certified B corporations across 130 unique industries and spanning 50 countries.
Supporting the Effort for Global Change
Now, just because a business isn’t currently certified as a B corp, it doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t implementing and adhering to higher/improved ethical and environmental standards already. Same as with making personal improvements towards sustainable and responsible consuming – positive change in global business is also a work in progress and can take some time. I’ve found it incredibly empowering to view a company’s sustainability and/or responsibility pages on their website. Many companies have one – and if they don’t, that might be a red flag. On these pages you can find information on what positive changes a company has already implemented and what plans they might have for the future.
Remember, we all have a role to play in global change. Businesses have a responsibility to function and produce in a way that’s sustainable and ethical; and as consumers we have the responsibility and power to support these efforts. By supporting certified B corporations, you’re supporting the vision for a better global culture.