, 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.