What do Patagonia, Ben & Jerry’s and The Body Shop have in common?
Apart from being some of the world’s biggest brand names, they are all certified B Corps.
Wait, B what?
Before most of us started working at Empower, we hadn’t heard of B Corps either.
But B Corps are now becoming increasingly common and more businesses are going through the B Corp certification process, so let us explain a bit more about what B Corps are and how this modern business movement is having a postive impact for people and planet.
In this article:
What is a B Corp?
Interesting fact: there are more than 4,000 B Corps across 77 countries and 153 industries. That’s a lot.
But what does being B Corp actually mean?
As stated on the B Corp website, certified B Corporations are:
“Certified B Corporations are leaders in the global movement for an inclusive, equitable, and regenerative economy. They meet high standards of verified performance, accountability, and transparency on factors from employee benefits and charitable giving to supply chain practices and input materials.”Source: B Corp
In simpler terms, Certified B Corporations are companies that use business as a force for good by caring about their employees, the environment, and their impact on the world.
Who can become a B Corp?
In order to achieve certification, a company must score at least 80 (out of 200) against five areas of impact: Governance, Community, Workers, Environment, and Customers.
A prospective B Corp must also provide the necessary supporting documentation to validate its claims, and amend its corporate bylaws to include its commitment to positive social and environmental change.
Every year, B Lab announces the world’s best-performing B Corps – the Best for the World™. These businesses have achieved the highest verified scores in the five impact areas, thus creating the greatest impact through their businesses.
How do you become a B Corp?
To become a B Corp, companies must go through a rigorous certification process – managed by the not-for-profit organisation, B Lab – which measures their entire social and environmental performance.
Taking company size and profile into account, the verification process involves documentation of a company’s business model and detailed information about operations, structure, and various work processes, plus review of potential public complaints and possible site visits.
There are five impact areas that each applicant is assessed on:
- Governance: Learn what your company can do to enhance policies and practices pertaining to its mission, ethics, accountability and transparency.
- Workers: Learn what your company can do to contribute to your employees’ financial, physical, professional, and social well-being
- Community: Learn what your company can do to contribute to the economic and social well-being of the communities in which it operates.
- Environment: Learn what your company can do to improve its overall environmental stewardship.
- Customers: Learn what your company can do to improve the value that you create for your direct customers and the consumers of your products or services.
To maintain certification, Certified B Corps must update their impact assessment and verify their updated score every three years (or after a Change of Control or Initial Public Offering).
Why is B Corp status important?
If the last few years have taught us anything, it’s to be kind. Kind to ourselves. Kind to each other. And kind to our planet.
Every business is deeply intertwined with environmental, social, and governance concerns, so it makes sense to measure a company’s impact on these factors.
Sadly, the world of sustainable brands can feel quite overwhelming at the best of times.
How do you avoid greenwashing? What is an ethical brand? And how do you spot one?
Thanks to B Corp Certification there’s now actual proof of brands that are walking the walk and not just talking the talk, making sustainable and impactful living just that little bit easier.
Empower’s B Corp Journey
Because at Empower we think actions speak louder than words, we have started our B Corp certification process in May 2021.
We used the B Corp impact assessment management, used by over 50,000 businesses worldwide, including over 3,000 Certified B Corporations, to helps us assess Empower’s impact on various stakeholders, including their workers, community, customers, and the environment.
Here’s how we scored in each of the following areas:
- Governance: What Empower can do to enhance policies and practices pertaining to our mission, ethics, accountability and transparency: 17.1 points
- Workers: What Empower can do to contribute to our employees’ financial, physical, professional, and social well-being: 36.5 points
- Community: What Empower can do to contribute to the economic and social well-being of the communities in which we operate: 17.7 points
- Environment: What Empower can do to improve its overall environmental stewardship: 7.2 points
- Customers: What Empower can do to improve the value that we create for our direct customers and the consumers of our services: 33.1 points.
Our impact assessment total score is 111.8, way above the 80 point minimum required to become B Corp certified.
However, applications for B Corp status and waiting times to become certified have been rapidly increasing, so we’re still waiting for our score to be verified by B Corp’s analysts.
When will Empower become B Corp certified?
And we encourage you to take a look at B Corp Certification for your company.