B corp · Social Entrepreneurship

Can a do-good company jive with Wall Street?

Andrew Storlie Founder of MixMedium

March 27th, 2015

Etsy, which filed to become a public company this month, is a certified socially-responsible company, also known as a B Corporation. And it's the largest one to go public in the United States. I wonder will Etsy be able to remain a B Corp once it becomes publicly traded? How B Corps status will play out as Etsy faces growing competition from online marketplace heavyweights including Amazon.com, eBay and Alibaba? What do you guys think?

LanVy Nguyen Founder & Managing Director at Fashion4Freedom

March 27th, 2015

I love etsy, BUT...frankly, I don't see how the company can be certified socially responsible especially when more and more Chinese manufacturers (poorly rated on eBay) have migrated onto Etsy...who's "certifying" these manufacturers and their murky supply-chain practices?

Incidentally, the B-Corp certifiers have NO CLUE about supply-chain and has no business certifying the ability of companies to be socially-responsibility when such companies act as virtual market places with no visibility & no ability to possibly control the manufacturing practices of the sellers they promote. Who should we hold responsible if, for example, we find out that one of etsy's sellers use children to make products sold on their site?

The point is, a company should not be given a blanket & general cert for social responsibility when it is NOT fully responsible for their participating sellers' practices. The "B" in B-Corp and in B-Cert is really "P" for poo-dropping.

Steve Simitzis Founder and CEO at Treat

March 27th, 2015

Etsy is widely considered to have abandoned the indie crafter, and has become a marketplace for resellers and manufactured products that look handmade. Good reading here:
http://www.wired.com/2015/02/etsy-not-good-for-crafters/

Crafters and artists still use Etsy (and many can't live without it) but it does appear that hitting Wall Street scale came with some compromises.