Once you’ve decided to develop your organization’s social purpose, it can be beneficial to have third-party validation, such as B Corp certification. Which leads us to the question: what is B Corp certification?
B Corp certification (awarded by B Lab, a non-profit organization) indicates that a for-profit company is legitimately meeting uniform standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency. Or in B Lab’s own words, “B Corp is to business what Fair Trade certification is to coffee, or USDA Organic certification is to milk.”
Why Is B Corp Certification Beneficial to Your Brand?
When it comes to developing social purpose and maintaining authenticity, it can be challenging for for-profit organizations to get buy-in from their internal and external stakeholders. Having an external, not-for-profit organization and accreditation process can validate your efforts, and go a long way towards building trust and credibility. As the Huffington Post points out, “Consumers, investors and even employees aren’t necessarily believing what a company says until they have a third party seal of approval on it…B Lab acts as that third-party standard to make sure these companies are as good as they say they are.”
Organizations of every size are becoming B Corp certified, including many internationally recognized companies. For instance, Patagonia, Ben & Jerry’s and King Arthur Flour all completed the B Corp certification process to cement their positions as socially conscious brands.
How Do You Become a B Corp?
Becoming a B Corp entails a fairly intensive assessment application and interview process. It requires B Lab to delve into all aspects of your organization’s policies and finances, as well as your social and environmental responsibility initiatives.
The assessment steps include:
- An initial assessment
- An assessment review with supporting documentation
- A disclosure questionnaire
- Background checks
- A site review (if necessary)
Yes, it’s a rigorous process to validate your company’s social and environmental performance. However, the B Corp website provides tools and resources to help at every step, and to ensure the process is smooth and straightforward.
Taking that Extra Step with Your Social Purpose Brand
Becoming a B Corp is not the silver bullet for building a social purpose brand. However, it is an important element in setting your company apart as a for-profit organization with a strong social purpose.
Becoming a B Corp proves to internal and external stakeholders that your ‘money is where your mouth is’ when it comes to being socially and environmentally conscious. And, in an era where millennials are looking for jobs with organizations that are aligned with their personal values and beliefs, it can also attract future employees and top talent.
Making the commitment to building a social purpose brand? Becoming a B Corp is a great way to demonstrate your efforts, give yourself key performance indicators to strive for, and hold yourself accountable.