B Corporation · Incorporation

Does everyone know what a B corp is ?

Anna Herman CEO , Eco Fashion Designer Herman's Eco INC.

January 24th, 2016

I have looked into it . Your corp would go on after you are gone. Its a people Planet Profit thing . I  checked and they don't have them in Montana which is where I'm based. How many places do they have them ?  Its important to watch your supply chain. I've had a lot of not so truthful  suppliers over the years, but I continue to ask the hard questions.

Rachel Murray Co-Founder, Kind Eye & Co-Founder, She Geeks Out

January 25th, 2016

I love what the B Lab is doing. Not perfect but a step in the right direction. I completely understand where LanVy's coming from re: costs and pomp... unfortunately we live in a society where marketing does matter. It's nice that we can show some real work behind the marketing claims in a simpler way. B Lab helps consumers make choices that align with their own standards and without having to do hours of research (assuming the information is even available or true) and I'm all for it. If we can provide greater transparency and have a speedy way to identify the triple bottom line, I'm all for it. :)

Shel Horowitz I help organizations thrive by building social transformation into your products, your services, and your marketing

January 24th, 2016

Anna, B Corp has a good website that can help you. I think they are eager to spread to new areas. I talk about B Corps in my 10th book, Guerrilla Marketing to Heal the World. Consumer packaged goods giant Unilever is pursuing B Corp certification.

Giles Crouch Digital Behavioural Economist | Speaker | Writer | Technology Strategist | on Twitter @Webconomist

January 24th, 2016

Almost all U.S. States now recognise a "BCorp"...it means People, Planet, Profit and is a way of running a business with greater transparency. First is people and recognising your employees and shareholders and respecting them and the human rights of people/employees. Second is planet and ensuring your business does not harm the planet (i.e chemical spills) and third is profit...yes, the purpose of a business is to make a profit and so should a B Corp...but it is having a business that doesn't sacrifice people and the planet in the process. Call it a new form of capitalism with a heart, unlike Trump and his ilk.

Michelle Hoexum principal at propeller

January 24th, 2016

BCorps are a growing force of good in the business world. There are two distinctions, a Benefit Corporation and a BCorp. The BCorp is a certification. You can be certified regardless of which state you operate. It is a scoring system, you must score at least 80 out of 200 on the assessment. More information can be found at bcorporation.net. A benefit corporation is a tax certification and not recognized in all states.

Ayelet Baron Author of Our Journey to Corporate Sanity: Transformational Stories from the Frontier of 21st Century Leadersh

January 24th, 2016

I have one of the founders of the B Corp movement and a few others in the book I am writing. I love what they are creating in the world. Half of the certified businesses are outside the US.  

Shel Horowitz I help organizations thrive by building social transformation into your products, your services, and your marketing

January 26th, 2016

Marc Milgrom, thank you for your post. I was not aware that you could go through the assessment without applying for the certification (for which, as a non-incorporated sole proprietor, I don't qualify). I started the process and got a logon, but I'll wait until February to do it because they announced they're putting up a new version after this month. I expect it will be a nice tool to offer in tandem with the simpler assessments I designed to help my clients self-evaluate (which are available for use at no charge at http://impactwithprofit.com).

I do believe certifications and other 3rd-party validations make a difference. I've had a number of people comment that things like my Green America Gold Certification (I was the first business ever to get this, and had to train them how to work with a sole proprietor who has no employees), my induction into the National Environmental Hall of Fame, and the endorsements of my books by green biz experts like Joel Makower of GreenBiz and Jacquelyn Ottman, author of The New Rules of Green Marketing--as well as endorsements by marketing luminaries including Jack Canfield of the Chicken Soup Books and Seth Godin with his dozens of marketing best-sellers--influenced them to do business with me.

Doug Bend Legal Counsel For Entrepreneurs @DougBend • Real Estate Broker @BLGProperties • Co-Founder @AgentFound

January 24th, 2016

Yahoo! Small Business Advisor published an article on this topic that you can review here.

Ajax Greene Providing expertise to emerging social entreprenuers

January 25th, 2016

I am a founding B Corp. In my belief this movement is the future of business. Just all the comments here seem on track. A Google search will bring of many articles etc. 

Jim Bowes Promoting and producing sustainable natural-media techniques

January 25th, 2016

LanVy Nguyen, I do not agree with your assessment of B Corp though as someone who has been in the sustainable community for over 12 years, I do understand where you are coming from. Here is why:
B Corp are not a typical "certification" which in many cases is just another certification that one pays for and sticks on their materials. I am by no means an expert on B Corp but I have been doing quite a bit of research. First B Corp will be the first to tell you it is not perfect. That in itself is refreshing. There are a lot of problems with the model but they are open about it and asking for all suggestions that may help it improve. They are taking a positive approach which means not judging as much as trying to educate and inspire a fundamental change to the way we do business. And differentiation is key as too many companies are just going through the motions and not practicing what they preach. To be a B Corp you must practice what you preach.
Most companies are audited and are screened quite heavily mostly because there are too many certifications out there and too many have little value. We are more and more cynical when it comes to sustainability. And rightly so. They provide many tools to teach companies what they need to do to become a benefit company. Their assessments are free to use and are being used by about 10 times more businesses who are trying to figure out just what this whole sustainable thing is then those actually applying for certification. It is not easy as you pointed out.
Each year the bar is raised for companies. Just because a company makes it this year does not mean they will get it next year. They have to continue to improve. Unlike most certifications that are very expensive, the rate is based on the size of your company and the revenue you generate. Of course they have to earn money as well in order to pay to operate but they are also non profit. 
Is it difficult to control your chains of custody? Yes, very hard as the systems in place are not really set up for this but again this is part of the idea of B Corps. By helping companies learn how to help their suppliers conform, it will help business improve. 
One of the goals is to prove that companies can be very responsible and highly profitable at the same time. Many brands like Unilever would love to become B Corp but right now that simply can not happen the way the laws are set up. In some countries shareholders can sue management for not optimising profits. Unilever will have a very hard time getting their shareholders who really do not care about sustainability to allow them to make the changes necessary to be certified so it's not a put money on the table and buy a certification. 
No it's not perfect but we do have to start somewhere and in my opinion and after looking at a lot of "certifications" this is the first one where I felt it had a real chance of making a real difference. 
Let's give it some credit, some time to prove itself before we start throwing the "greenwashing" label around. That is just too easy in my opinion. The system is broken. Business models are not made with responsibility in mind for the most part. We must find ways to change this for all our future. If we just throw our hands up and say, it doesn't work, it will never work it never will work. I am for at least giving the benefit of the doubt and looking at how they are approaching certification, I think they may be on to something.

LanVy Nguyen Founder & Managing Director at Fashion4Freedom

January 24th, 2016

This B-corp thing is yet another trend that is mostly a lot of hype that's worth a lot of money for people in the business of stamping your approval.   Frankly, the B-Corp trend is rather worthless for most SMEs and does not create real social value or quantifiable value for the following basic reasons:.   (1) a cert is not cheap, (2) certifiers, like most certifiers, do not have enough knowledge about a broad spectrum of businesses to assess how so many different enterprises can actually create quantifiable upside to the people or planet, (3) fine prints even indicate that less than 10% are ever audited, (4) the resulting certification questionnaire indicate an easily laughable scheme of pay-to-play.  There are so many reasons why B-corps and fair trade hypes reek of toxic whitewashing ( I mean greenwashing).  That said, if you want to create social and environmental values, just do it without the pomp and added cost of having someone pimp your hype