What it means to be a B Corp company (and what that means for your customers)

23 May 2022

With so many different certifications around nowadays, it can be difficult to keep track of them all. And although B Corp certification isn’t easy to obtain, it might make sense for your small business to try. But what does B Corp certification even mean? Let’s take a look.

What is B Corporation certification?

If you see a B Corp certified company, you can be confident that they are conscious of their social and environmental impact. That’s because companies with B Corp certifications are verified by B Lab, a non-profit network transforming the global economy to benefit all people, communities, and the planet. B Lab verifies that companies applying for B Corp certification meet high social and environmental performance standards, transparency, and accountability.

B Corp certified companies need to prove that they pay their employees fair wages, have environmentally friendly practices, and have a transparent supply chain, among other things. It’s a lofty goal to reach for, and the companies who get certified enjoy quite a few benefits. 

The verification process

Companies with B corp certifications need to go through B Lab’s verification process, which can be challenging and lengthy. Since B Lab started their programme in 2006, more than 150,000 businesses have gone through the B Corp Impact Assessment. But only 4,500 have made it all the way through to earn certification. 

Companies are assessed across five categories: governance, workers, customers, community, and the environment. And the process includes a test with over 150 questions about how you operate your business.

It’s rigorous. But it may be worth it in the long run because being B Corp certified comes with a lot of benefits to consider.

B Corp status can help you attract customers

People want to feel confident that the businesses they’re buying from are the good guys. Being a B Corp shows your customers that you care — not just about growing your company, but about people and the planet. If you want to send the message that you’re not just in it for the money and that you want to make a difference in the world, getting that B stamp may well be worth your time.

It can help boost your marketing efforts

B Corp certified companies can use the B Corp logo in their marketing materials. And while boosting sales isn’t really the point behind the programme, it never hurts to have more marketing tools at your disposal.

People are now looking to shift their purchasing power towards sustainable companies. And being in the same boat as some of the most sustainable companies in the world really sets you apart from the crowd. B Corp certification proves that you’re not all talk — that you’re serious about creating a positive impact. And that’s exactly what people want to see.

You get some unique networking opportunities

If you manage to get certified, you become part of a group with other B Corp enterprises and have access to resources through B Lab.

Being part of this elite group gives you the chance to collaborate with other like-minded business owners and learn more about how to create a positive change through your work. If you use these resources correctly, you’ll get the chance to learn from — and potentially bounce ideas off — great minds from companies like Better World Books, KeepCup, Lily’s Kitchen, Bol, Eileen Fisher, and Patagonia — just to name a few.

There are a few downsides to keep in mind

While B Corp certification sounds pretty darn great, it’s essential to consider a few downsides. 

Increased public scrutiny

As long as you stay committed to making the world a better place, this potential con turns into a benefit. But it’s important to remember that being a B Corp will put you in the spotlight, and you will be under pressure to live up to the values that come with certification.

You’ll need to pay a yearly certification fee

B Lab requires all members to pay a yearly certification fee of at least $500. And that fee increases depending on your company’s income bracket. Although you can’t put a price on the well-being of your employees and our planet, you’ll still have to consider the cost. 

If you’re already struggling to make ends meet, you might want to concentrate on implementing B lab’s criteria before applying for the certificate. Going this route will provide you with some of the benefits of a certificate while also making the process easier if you decide to get certified.

You need to get re-certified every two years

Getting B Corp certified is only half the battle. You also have to renew your certificate every two years, including going through the whole assessment process again. This shouldn’t be a problem if your business stays committed to B Lab’s values, but recertification involves a considerable investment of time and resources. Ultimately,  it’s up to you to choose if it’s worth the effort.. 

Where do you start prepping your business for B Corp status?

Making sure your customers have faith in your company’s ethics is critical for the success of your business. Being B Corp certified instils a lot of trust in customers. Seeing B Lab’s sign of approval lets everyone know what you stand for at a glance.

If you’re looking for ways to transform your business according to B Corp values, looking at your order and inventory management is a great place to start. Switching over to an automated, configurable inventory management system like Workhorse can help you reduce your carbon footprint, gain insights into the sustainability of your overall operations, help incorporate traceability into your supply chain, and so much more. 

Try out Workhorse with a demo to see how we can help you make a positive impact on the world.

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