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B-Corp? What’s all the fuss?

B-Corp? What’s all the fuss?

The idea that businesses can be agents for positive change was the spark behind the founding of the Ohio nonprofit, B Lab Inc., and its B Corp certificate program a decade ago.

Since then, over 1,700 companies have gone through the process including both large and small corporations.

What is a B-Corp?

The B stands for benefit and the B Corp certificate is awarded to a business that can prove it has a triple bottom-line, one that counts its impact on People and the Planet, as well as its Profits.

However, adding the B-Corp Seal to your business is not a meaningless label.  The group that has been established is the only group to officially grant this status and it costs – both in hard and soft costs.

Earning a B Corp certificate is open to for-profit companies. And despite the word “Corp” in its name, the certificate does not confer corporation status. Your business can apply for B Corp certification whether it’s organized as a partnership, a limited liability company (LLC), or incorporated as a traditional C corporation. And if you do get certified, your underlying legalbusiness structure remains the same.

Separately, many states now allow for a company to be organized as a formal “benefit corporation”, which is different from being a B Corp. A benefit corporation’s by-laws require it to consider the social and environmental benefits of its actions. It’s a more formal status than B Corp certification and is not regulated.

For more information on this – there are a number of links we have provided.

Is B-Corp Status Worth the effort?

The question needs to be asked – and we’ve been investigating.

Firstly, let’s understand that you cannot legislate the heart.  As Martin Luther King Jr said, “But we must go on to say that while it may be true that morality cannot be legislated, behavior can be regulated.”

The simple fact is that any organization can amend its mission and vision statements, along with its Corporate By-Laws or Operating Agreements to ensure it has the moral and ethical compass the organization wishes to have.

It’s great that there is a body that for a fee will audit you pre, post and continually thereafter.  However, there are other organizations and associations that companies need to consider that also have a beneficial impact on an organizations performance – an example of this is the ISO (International Standards Organization) that companies obtain that means they’re consistently providing a quality product or service to their customers.

We applaud the attitude of the B-Corp movement.

In short, it all depends on what you want, or more importantly what your organization needs in order to serve its customers, employees, stakeholders, the community, environment and our society at large.


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