Zero-waste shop owner smiles as her employee checks out customers in her sunlit shop
B corporation status bridges the gap between for-profit and nonprofit, letting consumers know a for-profit is committed to certain values. — Getty Images/martinedoucet

Most commonly known as B corps, a certified B corporation is a business that voluntarily chooses to meet a set of standards of the B Lab through social and environmental performance.

A B corporation bridges the gap between for-profit and nonprofit organizations. The B corp certification designates a for-profit company’s comprehensive commitment to wellness in leadership, employment, community engagement, environmental and sustainability concerns, and the product or service the company provides.

Benefits of becoming a B corporation

Here are some reasons companies consider B Corp. status:

Consumer trust

A B corp’s most notable advantage is that it may attract customers looking to patronize businesses perceived to share their convictions and values.

According to Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)’s global research, there was a 71% rise in the popularity of searches for sustainable goods over the past five years. Studies also show that millennials, now the most powerful purchasing power in the United States, and Gen Zers seek out conscientious brands that create sustainable products or have environmentally sustainable operations.

Talent acquisition

Registering as a B corp not only attracts consumers, it could also help with employee recruitment.

According to McKinsey and Company, employees who find their work to be meaningful are more committed to an organization and show improved performance versus employees who do not.

When a business establishes as a B corp and cultivates a culture that keeps its mission, vision, and values top of mind, it helps employees understand how they directly contribute to a larger purpose through their daily responsibilities.

For some companies — like Azavea, a software company in Philadelphia — the company’s values encourage interviewees to apply because they want to work somewhere with values that align with their own.

[Read More: B Corp Advantages and Requirements]

Once businesses become certified B corporations, they can join the B Hive. This platform enables B corp entrepreneurs to connect, communicate, and partner with each other, and offer each other exclusive discounts.

Strong community ties

Businesses that become certified B corps join a global network of nearly 5,000 businesses in 78 countries that represent more than 150 industries. While diverse in their products and services, B corps have a unifying goal of making their businesses forces for good in ways that benefit both people and the planet.

Once businesses become certified B corporations, they can join the B Hive. This platform enables B corp entrepreneurs to connect, communicate, and partner with each other, and offer each other exclusive discounts.

The B corp directory also enables entrepreneurs and consumers to find other certified B corps to support, collaborate with and purchase from.

[Read More: Choosing the Legal Entity for Your Small Business]

Real examples of B corporations

B corporation certification makes the most sense to pursue when entrepreneurs seek to incorporate a holistic framework of “business for good” through sustainable products, services, and solutions. B corp certification is not specific to a particular industry, and it involves every part of a business's operations, from the way leadership approaches relationships with vendors to corporate social responsibility as well as employee benefits.

A business can also become a B corp even if it wasn’t founded with the intention of becoming one, as long as the organization passes the B Lab requirements and certification assessments in its current state.

Here are three well-known examples of certified B corporations:

  • The Body Shop: Incorporated as a B corp in 2019, The Body Shop offers ethically sourced body-care products and actively engages in activism campaigns and partnerships. It also seeks to empower women and girls to boost their self-confidence through natural products and feminist programs.
  • Patagonia: Named a UN Champion of Earth in 2019, Patagonia prioritizes environmental health in every aspect of the business, from shifting to more sustainable operations to donating more than $140 million to environmental groups since 1985.
  • Bombas: Bombas began with a mission to help individuals struggling with homelessness by providing shelters with socks, a highly desired clothing item. Since the company’s inception in 2013, it has donated over 50 million items to homeless shelters nationwide, thanks to its “buy one, give one” purchase model.

[Read more: When to Change Business Entities]

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