What is a Certified B Corporation?

Using business as a force for good. If you’ve met any of our team members, follow us on social, or have been to our website, you’ve probably heard this phrase once or twice (…or more). As a certified B Corporation (B Corp), this mantra is ingrained in who we are and how we operate day to day.

But what is a B Corp, and what does it really mean to use business as a force for good? 

B Corp Defined

B Corp Certification is to business as Michelin Stars are to restaurants.

Simply put, B Corporations are purpose-driven businesses that are dedicated to balancing a triple bottom line (people + planet + profit). Certified B Corps are assessed every three years to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. These standards are continually improving, pushing B Corps to re-evaluate their practices to find ways to become even stronger change makers and global community leaders.

Certified B Corporation Logo

It’s true that “the landscape of American corporations is changing”, and that a majority of consumers are demanding that the brands they choose to purchase from support a cause greater than themselves. That’s where B Corps come in. 

The first 82 B Corps were certified in 2007. Southern Energy Management followed soon after, officially becoming a certified B Corp in 2009. Since then, we’ve measured our success by our impact on our team members, our community, the environment, and our customers. We’re proud to be part of this global alliance of companies innovating for impact and building a B Economy that helps solve social and environmental problems for the long term.

The B Corp Declaration of Interdependence

When a company becomes a B Corp, they sign on to a global pledge to consider people and place in their operations. The values and aspirations of the B Corp community are embedded in the B Corp Declaration of Interdependence: 

We envision a global economy that uses business as a force for good.

This economy is comprised of a new type of corporation – the B Corporation – Which is purpose-driven and creates benefit for all stakeholders, not just shareholders.

As B Corporations and leaders of this emerging economy, we believe:

  • That we must be the change we seek in the world.
  • That all business ought to be conducted as if people and place mattered.
  • That, through their products, practices, and profits, businesses should aspire to do no harm and benefit all.
  • To do so requires that we act with the understanding that we are each dependent upon another and thus responsible for each other and future generations.

B Corp Certification Process

To qualify as a B Corporation, companies must complete the B Impact Assessment (BIA). The assessment has a total of 200 questions with a max of 200 possible points. B Corps must achieve a minimum of 80 points to become certified. 

Within the BIA, there are five categories that evaluate the company’s transparency, performance, and overall impact: governance, workers, community, environment, and customers. Each section includes questions that assess the full scope of a company’s practices from the fine details of day-to-day operations to the overarching big-picture impact of their business model. 

Governance

Workers

Community

Environment

Customers

This isn’t a one-size fits all certification. Questions are customized to take the company’s size, sector, and market into account. After the assessment is complete, a team from B Lab will pick a random sample of questions for documentation to verify the company’s score.

A Global B Community

Here are a few notable B Corps from NC and abroad, and their B Impact scores!

patagonia-logo

Patagonia

Certified Since 2011

B Impact Score: 151.5

larrys-coffee-logo

Larry's Coffee

Certified Since 2015

B Impact Score: 113.0

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HQ Raleigh

Certified Since 2016

B Impact Score: 83.8

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Ben & Jerry's

Certified Since 2012

B Impact Score: 110.0

uncommon-goods-logo

UncommonGoods

Certified Since 2007

B Impact Score: 126.2

murphys-naturals-logo

Murphy's Naturals

Certified Since 2015

B Impact Score: 82.4

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Lulu

Certified Since 2016

B Impact Score: 85.6

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Klean Kanteen

Certified Since 2012

B Impact Score: 105.4

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Allbirds

Certified Since 2016

B Impact Score: 81.9

Learn More About the B Corp Movement

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