B Lab: A New Way to Grade Businesses

Food can be labeled organic, fair trade, or local. Facilities can be labeled Leed Certified. Washers/Dryers can be sold as “Energy Star appliances”. But what about businesses?

For that, there is B Lab, a nonprofit that “serves a global movement of people using business as a force for good™” with the hopes of promoting a culture where businesses don’t just compete for profits but also to be the Best for the World®.

Certified B Corporations™ meet rigorous standards of “verified, overall social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability”. These companies are by all means profit seeking, however in daily processes and in every step of the business process, these corporations take into account the impact of their actions on both society and the Earth.

There are currently over 1,600 Certified B Corporations in the world, spanning 42 countries, each having signed the Declaration of Interdependence. By signing the declaration, B Corps commit to conduct business as if “people and place [matter]”, to “do no harm and benefit all”, and to accept that “we are each dependent upon another and thus responsible for each other and future generations.”

Corporations are then reviewed for their impact on the Environment, relationship with Workers, impact on Customers and Community, and accountability and transparency in  Governance. All of these scores are released online and are compared to a median score of other businesses in the same industry. As an example, check out the B Corps Impact Report for Exygy, a software company.

Aside from official certification, B Lab also offers to all companies the use of their B Impact Assessment, which has been used by the likes of Etsy, Ben & Jerry’s, and Patagonia to help detect where companies can improve. Thus far, 15,000 companies have benefited from this tool.

The requirements of being B Corps Certified are quite simple, with the process being very open and inviting. Basically, if you commit to the cause, you’re welcome to join the cause, even if you have room to grow. Because that’s the goal, for all of these companies to continue growing, both in profit and in sustainable business practice, so that we may illustrate to the world that companies CAN be profitable and sustainable.

Thanks for learning with me, and have a green rest of your week!

 

Author: Jackie Ibragimov

 

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