Demystifying the Path of B Corp Certification
From the 2018 Conscious Capitalism Annual Conference, the largest gathering of Conscious Capitalists dedicated to elevating humanity through business.
Practicum: B Corp 101
Led by Kim Coupounas, B Lab
What if your company managed its impact with as much rigor as it manages its financials?
Here are the areas of measurement: Governance. Workers. Community. Customers. Environment. It’s tough but impactful work—and the average return is higher than a solely profit-driven company.
A global cultural shift is happening to harness the power of business to solve complex cultural and global problems.
B Lab is a nonprofit that serves as a global movement for businesses for social good.
B Lab strives to accelerate this cultural shift. B Lab was founded in Pennsylvania but is now global.
This shift requires deep systems change. First, admit a problem. Second, change the system of measurement. Third, execute the change.
B Lab’s integrated approach to systems change makes an alternative viable and scalable.
Step One: Build a community of credible leaders.
Step Two: Create tools for others to adopt.
Step Three: Spread the word.
Across the globe, more than 80% of consumers believe that companies should help make the world a better place.
B Corps are verified. Today there are 2,500 B Corps (Stonyfield, Danone, Method, Paragonia, are B-Corps, for example).
Public Benefit Corporations are allowed in 33 States as a legal structure. So, yes, there are both Certified B Corporations and Benefit Corporations.
Why choose B Corp certification?
- Every B Corp is required to bake their values into its legal DNA.
- Gives protection to consider non-fanatical stakeholders
- Protects mission in the future
- Attracts Impact Investors (GIIRS Rating)
- Attract and engage talent
- Connect with B Corp peer companies
- Generate Press
You can convert an LLC or C-Corp to a B Corp. Here’s an outline of the process:
Steps to certification:
- Meet Impact Assessment
- Meet Legal Requirement
- Make it Official
Impact covers Governance, Works, Community, Environment, and Customers.
The impact assessment is valuable in its own right. The scored section measures both operational impact and social impact. Social impact creates a specific positive benefit/outcome for one or more of its shareholders.
The Impact Scoring weighs outputs and outcomes more heavily. Key Features of Assessment:
- Positive and Comprehensive
- Standardized yet Adaptive
- Objective and Dynamic
- Aspirational and Educational
This is a global movement of people using business as a force for good.
As a starting point, generate 2-3 reasons that a B Corp Certification may be right for your company. This is a movement on how we move business forward in a way where it serves humanity. This future needs to take root in every city across the Globe. It’s a different mindset for business.
Take the B Impact Assessment: https://bimpactassessment.net
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Michael Graber is the managing partner of the Southern Growth Studio, an innovation and strategic growth firm based in Memphis, TN and the author of Going Electric. Visit www.southerngrowthstudio.com to learn more.
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