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Crash Course: Certified B Corporations

In 2005, Jay Coen Gilbert and Bart Houlahan sold their sports apparel company AND1 to build a totally new world of opportunity for businesses. Using the insights they gained by running a socially responsible company, Gilbert and Houlahan created B Lab—a nonprofit that helps businesses pursue ethical practices.

B Lab is the organization that evaluates businesses to see if they qualify to be Certified B Corporations (B Corps). Fifteen years later, B Corps across the world are doing more good for their employees, community and environment. Wondering if B Corp certification is a possible path for your business? Read on.

What is a B Corp?

A B Corp is a for-profit business that receives a certification from B Lab that proves their commitment to do good for their employees, community and environment. In order to become certified, businesses have to pass a thorough review from B Lab to prove and validate that their operations and values are transparent and actively help all stakeholders.

Becoming a Certified B Corp can help your business grow its socially responsible endeavors locally and globally as the worldwide network of B Corps creates a cultural shift in how the purpose of business is perceived. B Lab exists to not only help your company do more good but to help the world see the power of business as a force for good.

What are the advantages of becoming a B Corp?

Earning B Corp certification shows the world that your business is devoted to the greater good. Your business becomes a beacon of good in your community with the power to spread the word about purpose-driven business. B Corp certification is empowering and can spur even more good in your business and community.

When you put a B Corp sticker in your front window and on your website, you put your company’s values on display. The B Corp stamp is tangible, credible, third-party-verified proof that your business does more good for its stakeholders and world. It’s easy for any company to list out its values, but B Corp certification backs up your values as the gold standard.

B Corp certification can also ignite excitement for future and current employees. The vast majority of young professionals actively search for jobs associated with a higher cause—a sense of purpose is essential to attracting new talent. And as a B Corp, your clear, vibrant values will increase employee retention, helping you develop a loyal, engaged workforce.

How does my company become a B Corp?

B Corp certification is a comprehensive process that measures the entire social and environmental impact of your business. To begin your journey to certification, you’ll have to take the B Impact Assessment—a questionnaire about your company’s operations and how they affect your workers, community, environment, and customers.

If your assessment answers look good to B Lab, you’ll then get the opportunity to speak with members of B Lab to further prove your company’s purposeful, positive practices. Your phone call with B Lab is your chance to make the case for your organization and clarify all your best practices.

After the call with B Lab, you can fill out a “disclosure questionnaire” to discuss any sensitive topics relating to your company. B Lab will also run background checks on members of your organization. If everything checks out, you should then receive your certification.

Establishing your company as a B Corp can take time, but B Corp certification opens up a world of connections and possibilities. You can be a part of an international network of purpose-driven companies and stay on the cutting edge of the Do More Good movement.