If your shop is incorporated, you are most likely an S Corp or C Corp.  You may not have even heard of the option of being a B Corp, which is not surprising — because this relatively new type of corporate status mostly reflects an ethical rather than legal position. “B Corps are for-profit entities structured to make a positive impact on society,” according to Business News Daily.   

The B Corp movement began in Maryland in 2010, and today includes well-known retailers such as Etsy, Warby Parker and Patagonia.  Companies agree to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency when seeking this designation. The short video We Have a Dream does a good job explaining the ways in which B Corps work.

B Lab is a nonprofit organization that serves this movement of people using business as a force for good by providing B Corp certification to companies that meet the standards mentioned above. “Today, there is a growing community of more than 2,100 Certified B Corps from 50 countries and over 130 industries working together toward one unifying goal: to redefine success in business,” according the the B Lab website.  Not all of the certified B Corps companies have the legal status of being a benefit corporation, in part because this legal entity is currently only available in 35 states and the District of Columbia.

The website B the Change works in collaboration with B Lab to use storytelling to promote the principles of businesses involved in this movement. According to B the Change, “We exist to inform and inspire people who have a passion for using business as a force for good in the world.”  One of the projects supported by B the Change is Shop for Good Sunday, an effort to promote the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend as a day “to shop with companies that do good for people and the planet.”

Why would a company want to seek B Corp status? According to an article in The Washington Post, “Some companies that go through the certification see it as a marketing tool that helps promote their do-gooder business approach in a credible way to customers, potential employees or socially minded investors. Others see it as an organizing principle that helps hold them accountable to their corporate ideals when making decisions.”  

The principles behind B Corp certification can serve as inspiration to any independent retailer, even those who don’t seek this special status.  Because hopefully we all agree that being a good corporate citizen benefits our communities, our environment, and our businesses.

Happy Retailing,

Carol “Orange” Schroeder

FacebookpinterestmailFacebookpinterestrssmail