What is B Corporation Certification?

Shoot for B [Photo by blmurch] (CC BY-SA 3.0)

A certified B corporation is a new type of corporation that uses the power of business to solve social and environmental problems.

B corporations meet transparent and comprehensive standards of social and environmental performance, and they legally expand their corporate responsibilities to include consider of stakeholder interests beyond equity shareholders. B corporations can unite together to form a powerful lobby for sustainable business and for-profit social enterprise. There are currently over 200 certified B corporations in a range of 30 different industries.

Together, they represent $1 billion in collective revenues. However, some states still don’t allow corporations to legally consider other stakeholder interests. Some of these 19 states, including California, are considering changes to existing legislation which would allow this in the future. A B corporation certification goes beyond other green certifications because it not only evaluates environmental efforts but also considers governance, employees, community and suppliers.

Becoming a B Corporation

Companies that want to be recognized for their socially and environmentally conscious practices can spotlight their achievements by obtaining a B Corporation certification. This third-party certification is only given to businesses that are truly committed to fundamentally sustainable models.

Office Building B (Chicago, IL) [Photo by takomabibelot] (CC BY-SA 3.0)

The certification is managed by B Lab, a nonprofit organization formed in 2007 by three successful entrepreneurs. A company that wants to become a B Corporation should have a business plan that reflects their desire to create a public benefit through their operations. Further, they must meet comprehensive social and environmental standards and change their legal documents to reflect the fact that the company is committed to maximizing benefits for all stakeholders rather than just shareholders. Re-certification is required every to years to maintain the B Corporation status. It is possible to apply for the B Corporation online through the B Labs website.

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