Sustainability

What Does B Corp Mean?

An Introduction to the B Corp Certification

When I first began to look more into sustainability I started to come across companies that were B Corp Certified. I didn’t think much of what this might mean, however, the more companies that I became interested in that had sustainability at their core, the more the label ‘B Corp Certified’ fascinated me.

B Corporations were first introduced in the US in 2006 and include many well-known brands such as Ben and Jerries. In 2015, B Corps made its way to the UK, accrediting many home brands including The Body Shop, Alpro, Activia, Patagonia and BrewDog. In the UK there are now over 400 companies and businesses considered to be B Corporations.

What Does the B Mean?

There seems to be a lot of discrepancy around what the B in B Corp actually stands for. It originally meant ‘Benefit Corporation’, but over many years, the B has come to mean different things to different people. For some, it stands for ‘Better’ or ‘Better Corporations’. I quite like this interpretation.

So What Actually Are They?

According to the online definition, B Corporations are any businesses “that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability.” In other words, they pay as much attention to their impact on the world around them as they do to their profits. B Corporations take into consideration their social impacts and their environmental impacts. They take care of their employees and their customers. They strive to have the highest standards in the business world and above all, they strive for accountability.

In our consumer-driven world, they are forces for good.

“Ultimately, our vision is one of reduced inequality, lower levels of poverty, the creation of more high-quality jobs with dignity and purpose, stronger communities and a healthier environment.”

Chapter 3, The Next Five Years

What Does This Mean for Consumers?

To become B Corp certified, a business must undergo an assessment on 5 impact areas: Governance, Community, Workers, Environment and Customers. To receive accreditation, a business must score a minimum of 80 out of 200 points.

As a consumer, whenever you find a business that is B Corp certified, you know you will be buying from a company with good values. B Corps have to consider all 5 impact areas, not just one. They are committed to their workers, to the world around them and to you.

If you wish to know more about B Corps, B Corp UK provides you with all the information you need. Similarly, the website also lists all of the UK-based, B Corporations if you wish to invest more into accredited businesses.

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