Over recent years, you have likely seen the distinctive B-Corp logo here and there. From big corporations such as Danone, or Patagonia, to creative start-ups like Allbirds, and even small, local businesses, the B-Corp movement is changing the face of social responsibility for everyone.
What exactly is a B-Corp?
Regardless of industry or sector, any business can become B-Corp accredited as long as they undergo a comprehensive and thorough assessment process, sign a ‘Declaration of Interdependence’ and pay an annual fee. There are currently over 3,564 certified B-Corps globally, spread across 74 countries and 150 industries!
The B-Corp movement was originally started in 2006 by friends Jay Coen Gilbert and Bart Houlahan after Gilbert had the idea to create a system that would hold organisations publicly ‘accountable for the ways they benefitted workers, communities, the environment and customers.’
The thinking is that ‘society’s most challenging problems cannot be solved by government and non-profits alone’. The B-Corp movement’s founders were inspired by entrepreneurs and investors who were working to build better ways of doing business, people who were interested in supporting their stakeholders, not just their shareholders.
How companies are accredited
To become a fully certified B-Corp, organisations need to score above 80 points on the lengthy B-Impact Assessment. The online assessment examines a company’s impact on its employees, customers, community, and environment and must be updated every three years to ensure that organisations maintain a high-level of social impact.
The organisation must provide any supporting documents required to validate some of their responses and publicly share their results of their assessment, their ‘B Impact Report’. They must also meet the legal requirements to integrate stakeholder consideration into their governance structure.
Finally, they must sign the ‘Declaration of Interdependence’ promising to ‘be the change we seek in the world’ and to ‘do no harm and benefit all’ in their business actions, and pay the annual fee.
What this means for CSR
As the B-Corporation movement increases in popularity and more big-name brands get on board, the more seriously social responsibility in business is taken worldwide. Thankfully, we have seen a global shift in perspective since Milton Friedman declared in 1970 that the sole purpose of business was to maximise profits but the remnants of this mindset still linger
The flipside of CSR’s rise in popularity is that now everyone wants to be seen as ethical regardless of whether or not they are actually doing the work. It is becoming increasingly difficult to discern the genuinely good from the greenwashers, and consumers are often held responsible for their buying decisions more than companies are held to account for harmful production processes.
The B-Corp movement is a guiding light in the mayhem. The rigorous, efficient, and continuously re-evaluated accreditation process means that any time you see a B-Corp logo against a product or a service, you can be guaranteed that the organisation is committed to a wider model of social responsibility.
Our journey – what is a pending B-Corp?
Recently, we were recognised as a pending B-Corp. This means that, as we are an early-stage start-up and do not yet have enough evidence of impact to become a fully certified B-Corp however we have met the legal requirements, scored highly in a prospective B Impact Assessment, and are well on our way to becoming certified in the near future.
At Social Good Connect, our mission is to build a world where people care and are inspired to make a positive social impact, and for us, becoming a pending B-Corp is an important first step. We are committed to building an ethical, sustainable, and impactful business and we are so excited to keep you updated on our journey towards B-Corp status.