The B Corp, or “For Benefit” corporation, is redefining fiduciary responsibility, governance, ownership and stakeholder relationships in light of an equal increase in stewardship and sustainability obligations by businesses, government and consumers.
“It’s not just retailers that take notice of B Corp certification. It can also be a game changer for consumers and investors. Over the past five years, B Lab said small businesses with B Corp certification have had a 30 percent higher survival rate than U.S. small businesses as a whole,” Hartford Business noted.
While green products are increasingly available, telling the difference between “eco-friendly” companies and those with a real commitment to sustainable practices has become much easier thanks to B Corp certification, a business badge for companies with a proven track record on sustainability, community, transparency and fair employee treatment.
Companies looking for certification must complete an assessment of their current practices, gather documentation and go through an audit with a B Lab consultant, and pay fees anywhere from $500 to $25,000 depending on size. But the payoff is more than worth the trouble.[more]
With consumers growing more conscious of business best practices, faults in supply chains and environmental concerns, having a B-Corp badge can also be a great business builder and recruiting tool for companies. After all, Millennial job seekers are increasingly pursuing companies that have a “material positive impact on society and the environment,” according to Wall Street Journal.
Since 2007, 859 companies including Patagonia, Ben & Jerry’s, Warby Parker, Etsy, Seventh Generation and Method have been certified in 29 countries and 60 industries. “If your company offers something that’s more purposeful than just a job, younger generations are going to choose that every time,” Blake Jones, president and CEO of Namasté Solar, a solar-technology installer and B Corp, told the Wall Street Journal.
Even business schools are taking notice, with Yale University’s School of Management, Columbia Business School and New York University’s Stern School of Business now offering student-loan assistance for those who choose to work at non-profits and for graduates who go on to work for B Corps.
And consumers can expect to see the designation appearing more frequently. Companies are advertising the badge on everything from company logos and signs to shopping bags, and interest from the corporate sector is reportedly “high.”