An Interview with B Lab: Building a Global Movement of People Using Business as a Force for Good
Today’s growth strategy has changed, and the brands that set aside the time, resources and commitment to driving systemic change in the world, are accomplishing more. “The requirements are rigorous to become certified but the payoff is well worth it.” as Callie explains, “B Corps sees the importance of not just environmental and social responsibility, but how employees align with their purpose, and how consumers make buying decisions.”
So what is a B Corp?
You may have seen the logo. Solid B with a circle around it - that’s the one. The one that established the bar for companies looking to hold themselves accountable for sustainable business practices. B Lab is a nonprofit organization, founded in 2007, which certifies companies as B Corporations (B Corps) worldwide. Now consisting of 2,600 Certified B Corporations, B Lab provides tools like, the B Impact Assessment to help companies measure what it means to build better businesses.
Callie Rojewski, Marketing & Communications at B Lab, says companies use their B Corp status to, “walk the talk, by communicating their B Impact results publicly and delivering a higher standard of business.” B Lab rewards companies that create benefits for all stakeholders, not just shareholders. A company's B Impact score is posted annually to display scores in the five Impact Areas: Governance, Workers, Community, Environment, and Customers. The CEO of Blackrock, a Certified B Corporation, stated “Without a sense of purpose, no company, either public or private, can achieve its full potential. It will ultimately lose the license to operate from key stakeholders.”
Employee retention and recruitment is a large motivator to begin the B Impact Assessment. Brands can highlight their mission and attract top talent by showcasing their commitment to a better world. By setting a higher standard of employee practices and corporate social responsibility, B Corps shine a positive light for both current and future employees to see. LimeRed Studio found talent acquisition to be the number one benefit of being certified, as top talent prefers working for mission-driven brands. Finding meaningful work is highly sought after, and bwork.com facilitates this by connecting mindful humans with mindful brands.
But it doesn’t stop there.
Individuals not only care about the social responsibility of companies they work for but more importantly those that they buy from. Purpose-led purchasing runs through the veins of the global economy. Unilever points out in their international study, 53% of shoppers in the UK and 78% in the US say they feel better when they buy products that are sustainably produced. That number increases to 88% in India and 85% in both Brazil and Turkey, proving this insight to be universal across both developed and developing economies. Brands that are heavy into the CPG space proudly print the Certified B Corporation logo on their packaging to catch the eye of mission-driven buyers. “Consumers walking through the grocery store use the logo to help differentiate products and make thoughtful buying decisions based on their personal morals and values.” The logo enables consumers to identify brands that focus on a mission bigger than themselves and in turn, helps brands reach meaningful lifelong customers. “By taking the approach to make a positive global impact, companies become more resilient,” Callie reports. B Corps reap long-term benefits and have a higher chance of withstanding economic flux.
Retail companies like The Gap, Inc., have continued to seek out meaningful ways to connect with their audience. President and CEO Art Peck told CNBC, "That's a values issue that our customers are super responsive to. The engagement in that brand is amazing and that's what consumers are looking for today," Peck expressed. "I don't care if it's a millennial or a 70-year-old woman. She sees that as a brand that she can relate to from a values standpoint and it's a really powerful equation."
Take the B Lab Impact Assessment to find out where you stand. “Often times, companies may take the assessment multiples times. The first assessment will give you a benchmark and show the areas to improve,” suggests Callie. Companies must achieve a score of 80 points across all five B Impact Areas and renew their certification every 3 years.
Meet 2018 Best For The World Honorees to see who tops the charts by being in the top 10% of scores in each of the B Impact Assessment categories. Learn more about B Corporation Certification and be a part of the change. Empowering the community and being part of a positive change sets the tone for the future and brings in like-minded brand advocates.