26 January 2013

The B Lab & B Corporations

Since we've dedicated this week to articles about for-profit companies that are giving back in a big way, I thought it would be helpful to provide some information on B Corporations, and introduce the intersection of the non-profit and for-profit world. As you may have noticed  many of the companies featured this week are certified B corporations.

B Lab is a non-profit organization entrepreneurs committed to using business to solve social and environmental problems through three initiatives:

  • Certified B Corporations -  use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. To become a certified B corporation, companies must take the free, confidential B Impact Assessment, which measures a company's impact on communities, employees, and the environment.  Today the number of certified corporations is 681, in 24 countries and 60 industries.
  • Passing Legislation - through the leadership of the community of certified B corporations, laws have been passed in 11 states, (and moving forward in 16 more), to create a new type of corporation- the benefit corporation- that best meets the needs of socially conscious entrepreneurs and investors. Benefit corporations have the same business model as traditional corporations; however they have higher standards of corporate purpose, accountability and transparency.
  • GIIRS Ratings and Analytics - is a rating agency and analytics platform for impact investors. It gives investors the tools they need to analyze the impact of their investments with the same rigor as they analyze their financial risk and return.

Now, I must admit, I was feeling a little uncertain about B corporation certification and B Lab when I  first read about them. But, in true non-profit... and B corporation fashion, the organization is extremely transparent, with some big players in the for-profit and non-profit world involved in this movement.

First,  B Lab has published an annual report that is easily accessible on their website. Their pioneer investors for GIIRS Ratings and Analytics include the Rockfeller Foundation, J.P. Morgan, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and 20 other big wigs. Finally, you can learn more about B Lab, but checking out their GuideStar profile.

Wondering if you'd recognize a certified B corporation? Well why not read about, Ben &Jerry's, here.

If you're interested in becoming a Certified B Corporation, you can take the B Impact Assessment, here.

For the socially conscious consumer, Certified B Corporation has a directory of companies that meet their criteria, from financial services to energy provides. The company profiles include their B Impact Assessment rating.

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