Certified B Corps are working to make our world a better place. But how exactly are they doing it? The decisions businesses make on a daily basis have a lasting impact on the future of our planet — B Corps work hard to make sure that this impact is a positive one. Here’s how.
In 2020 alone, humanity added an estimated 37.5 billion tons1 of carbon dioxide emissions into the Earth’s atmosphere. And thanks to the efforts made by over 3,800 B Corps worldwide, 16 million tons of that carbon dioxide was offset. While that offset makes up a mere 0.04% of total global carbon dioxide emissions for the year, it does prove that when we come together to improve the health of the planet, we really can make a measurable impact.
What Is a B Corp?
Certified B Corps unite under the shared mission of making our world a better place. But how exactly are they doing it? As is the case for individuals’ collective actions, the decisions that businesses make on a daily basis can have a lasting impact on the future of our communities and our planet as a whole. B Corps work hard to make sure that this impact is a positive one. Here’s how.
B Corp requirements
Certified B Corps are corporations or businesses that have made it their mission to benefit or improve the world around them through the work that they do. And while this may look a bit different from one business to the next, all businesses that are Certified B Corps share the same set of foundational values and principles.
Together, Certified B Corps2 make up “a community of leaders driving a global movement of people using business as a force for good.” But attaining this certification is not as simple as adopting a set of values and orienting a business’s mission toward the collective good — it means getting to work and taking action.
Receiving a B Corp certification means that a business has met “the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose” and is “accelerating a global culture shift to redefine success in business and build a more inclusive and sustainable economy.” Applying for this certification is a detailed, multi-step process that ensures the businesses that achieve B Corp certification are businesses that have your, and the planet’s, best interests at heart. This includes cross-functional stakeholder engagement, necessary disclosures, and supplemental documentation to prove the claims being made by a company, and often an onsite audit to verify that the answers are correct.
Why should we buy from B Corps brands?
For any sustainability-minded consumer, knowing where your dollars are going and what business practices they’re supporting is a big deal. But when you’re buying from a Certified B Corp, you can rest assured that your money is supporting a business that practices what they preach.
Whether you’re buying a new pair of shoes or a week’s worth of groceries, purchasing from B Corps ensures that you are supporting sustainable manufacturing and farming practices, which in turn creates a healthier planet for us all. On top of their transparency and environmental sustainability, B Corps work to enhance their local communities, strengthen their corporate governance practices, and support the people who work directly for and parallel to the business. They are also 250% more likely to be carbon neutral, which in turn means that you’re helping to minimize your own carbon footprint when you support a B Corp. Win-win!
Why should we work for B Corps?
B Corps don’t just care about their products and services — they care about their people, too. B Corps are mission-oriented companies that are driven by maximum impact rather than maximum profit, and that desire for impact expands into day-to-day operations as much as it does into marketed products. This makes B Corps measurably better places to work than other businesses. In fact, B Corp employees are typically twice as engaged in the business as a whole compared to their counterparts. That’s at least in part due to the fact that they can see how their own personal values and interests are reflected in their employer’s mission and how they’re making a difference not just at a business level, but at a global level. And with B Corps spanning over 150 different industries in 74 countries, you’re bound to find a company to work for whose mission aligns with your own values.
Why should we do business with B Corps?
Part of what makes a B Corp certification so special is the fact that it reflects the entire body of the business, not just one product or service. Everything about the way a business is run is evaluated before it can receive B Corp certification — so when they do receive it, it’s a big deal.
Why B Corps matter
When considering doing business with, or investing in, a product or service, it’s not just about where the company has been, but where they are going in the future. And for B Corps, that future is built on the foundational pillars of sustainability, transparency, and social and environmental good. In 2020 alone, B Corps preserved 200,000 hectares of land, saved 225 million liters of water, and diverted 207 thousand metric tons of waste thanks to their sustainability requirements. This is the kind of intentional work that is going to create a better future for us all — and that’s worth investing in. When B Corps come together to work with and support other B Corps, we’re able to create a sort of micro-economy of like-minded businesses, which supports not only the growth of each of our businesses individually but the expansion of B Corp impact.
Why Inspire became a B Corp
For Inspire, accelerating the world toward a net-zero carbon future is our guiding principle. All of the work we do each day, from meeting new members to developing new products that expand access to clean energy, comes back to this shared goal. Since our founding in 2014, the Inspire community has helped to avoid 3,481,047 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions from entering the Earth’s atmosphere — and we’re just getting started.
In 2017, Inspire took its first steps toward becoming a Certified B Corp.3 For us, the benefits were obvious: being B Corp certified directly supported our mission as a company by giving us the tools to more holistically incorporate environmental and social impact into the entirety of our business approach. Being a B Corp also continues to hold us accountable to the various checks and balances involved in the B Corp certification process, giving us the opportunity to measure and report back on our impact and efforts overtime to make sure we are continuing to do the work articulated by our mission.
Thankfully, more and more businesses are applying to become B Corp certified, which means our collective impact has the potential to expand by leaps and bounds in the coming years. The more conversations we have around sustainability and the more businesses there are being held to B Corp standards, the healthier our collective future will become.