What is a B Corp?

The concept of B Corporations was conceived in 2006, when the co-founders of B Lab wrote a book about corporate social responsibility.

But, it wasn’t until 2010 that B Lab formally began certifying companies as Certified B Corporations (B Corps).

In order to become a certified B Corp, a business must meet three criteria:

  • Verified social and environmental performance
  • Public transparency
  • Legal accountability

The third criterion is where most companies stumble — having all these areas measured at the same time is difficult, and if you were selected for review and failed, you’re unable to keep your B Corp status.

So, what is a B Corp?

B Corporations are for-profit companies that use their business to solve social and environmental problems.

As a Certified B Corporation, you are required to meet higher standards of verified social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability. There is no cost involved with becoming certified.

How are B Corps assessed?

Certified B Corporations need to achieve a minimum score on the B Impact Assessment—an assessment of a company’s impact on stakeholders including employees, customers, environment, and community.

Their B Impact Report is made public, published on the B Corp website.

The report includes a breakdown of every part of the business, from their governance structure, to their environmental impact and initiatives, and their impact on the community.

Anyone can visit a brand’s B Impact Report and find the detailed breakdown of how their score was given.

How do Companies Become B Corps?

The certification process for B Corps is a rigorous one, with companies being scored on an “impact scorecard” across eight categories: environmental, employee, community and government relations, consumer impact, and leadership development.

By becoming a certified B Corp they demonstrate their commitment to meeting the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance and transparency.

Examples of Sustainable Clothing B Corporations:

What’s Included in the B Impact Report?

The key part about being a B Corp is that it requires transparency. The B Impact Report is made public, and anyone can view B Impact Reports for any Certified B Corp.

It shows the highs and lows, and how they compare to other B Corps.

For example, here is Frank and Oak’s B Impact Report:

We can dig into the details, for example, their effect on their community in terms of Job Creation, Diversity & Inclusion, Civic Engagement, and more.

Overall, we get a nice overview of what initiatives the company is taking part in, and if they’re making a positive impact.

If you’re interested in sustainability certifications, check out our recent post on the subject: Sustainability Certifications: What Do They All Mean?

The Ecothes Team
The Ecothes Team

Hi, we're the team behind Ecothes. We started this platform to help share the sustainable brands we discover, making products from clothing, to homeware, to sneakers.

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