As anyone who has gone through B Corp certification can attest to, the certification process can be challenging. The B Corp certification requirements are quite stringent, and the performance standards are quite high.
Why, then, do companies go through the challenge to get certified? What are the benefits?
The Top 10 Benefits of Becoming a B Corp
Here are some of the reasons why forward-thinking businesses set out to become Certified B Corps:
1. Run a better business that aligns with your values
Hands-down, this is probably the number one reason that I hear time and again from companies that have undertaken the B Corp certification process: it aligns with their values and they want to run a better business.
Through the process of completing the B Impact Assessment, companies will inevitably uncover opportunities for improvement. They’ll strengthen their impact by formalizing their mission statement, developing a charitable giving program, rolling out a community service program, reviewing suppliers for diverse representation, and more.
Beyond that, they generally tighten up their operations. Employee Handbooks that were outdated get brought up-to-date, professional development plans that have been discussed but not worked on get implemented, and carbon footprint calculations that have been daunting get completed.
Because the BIA is so comprehensive, it provides an excellent framework for business owners to evaluate all their operations, be intentional about the impact that they want to have, and fine-tune policies and processes as they go. The end result: a tighter, more optimized organization.
2. Join a global community of changemakers
When your company becomes a Certified B Corp, you join a global community that is using business as a force for good.
You meet, engage with, and collaborate with like-minded changemakers in your community and far beyond who share your vision and values. You share ideas and learn from each other.
This is practical and it’s real – whether it’s online through the B Hive (the networking platform for B Corps) or in-person through the B Locals (groups of B Corps in a specific region), B Corps look for and welcome connections.
This is likely because this is still a movement of early adopters – just over 5,000 businesses worldwide – so connecting with others and having companions on your journey to create and grow a business that makes a difference in the world is meaningful. We’re vastly outnumbered by those who continue with business-as-usual practices; working in community with others makes the journey less lonely and more enjoyable.
3. Support the movement
It’s one thing for a business owner to be making an impact in their small corner of the world – that’s important, and it’s what many of us aspire to do.
More impactful than that, however, is being part of something much bigger and better than ourselves. As a B Corp, your own voice as a business is amplified by your participation in a global movement to use business as a force for good.
Ultimately, B Corp certification is not just about B Corp certification – it’s about a movement to change our economic system so that it works for all.
To call this a significant endeavor is an understatement. All of the challenges of our time – the climate crisis, racial inequity, and challenges to democracy – are tied to an economic system that prioritizes profits for the few over well-being for the many.
Certified B Corps tackle this challenge head-on by recognizing that, regardless of the impact that each of us has through our own businesses, resetting our economic system requires a movement that can mobilize millions for the long haul.
4. Attract and engage talent
A few years ago, before the pandemic, I was on a panel talking about B Corps with three other panelists – one from Athleta (a subsidiary of a multinational), one from Beneficial State Bank (a company with offices along the West Coast), and myself representing Cultivating Capital (a small business). To a person, when asked about the benefits of B Corp certification, we all pointed out how we get unsolicited applications from good people who are attracted to our companies precisely because we’re B Corps.
Even now, after a pandemic and a recession, I still hear from B Corps that their certification makes a difference in their hiring.
The days when an employee would remain with a company for decades are long gone. Good employees are always hard to find, and they will always have opportunities to jump to other companies or start their own enterprises.
People want to work somewhere that they feel good about. This has been written about most often regarding millennials who want are looking for purpose in the workplace (though as a Gen Xer myself, I would argue that they’re not the only generation that wants this!).
As B Corps have become more well-known, it has even become easier for job seekers to find B Corps that are hiring through the BWork.com site.
5. Tap professional development opportunities for employees
This is an often-overlooked benefit.
Once a company is certified, all employees get access to the B Hive, the networking platform for B Corps. Within the B Hive, they can find groups that are relevant to their roles and responsibilities. There are groups for HR professionals, JEDI leaders, Marketers, Impact Improvement professionals, and more.
Each of these groups shares resources and ideas that can help members to connect with other values-aligned professionals in their field, build their networks, engage in peer-learning, and share collaboration opportunities. These opportunities help employees to learn and hone their own skills.
This is all without extra costs for the company, since membership in the B Hive is included as a benefit of certification and is included in the certification fees.
6. Get marketing collateral and assets
Another often-overlooked benefit involves the marketing benefits.
Yes, you do get access to the B Corp logo, which is a significant marketing asset by itself, since it demonstrates that a company is meeting the highest standards of social and environmental performance.
Beyond that, however, Certified B Corps get to use marketing collateral that B Lab provides and join in marketing campaigns that B Lab organizes.
Need a video to explain what a B Corp is when you announce your certification or to add to your website? No problem, B Lab has one that you can use. Need headers for your social media profiles? You can use the ones that B Lab provides.
Want to share your B Corp story with your stakeholders? Participate in the B Corp month campaign that B Lab organizes.
These are just some examples of how Certified B Corps can extend their own marketing capabilities by using collateral and participating in campaigns that B Lab organizes and supports.
7. Differentiate your company from your competitors.
Consumers are increasingly concerned with sustainability and social impact. From food production, to tech, to fashion and jewelry, people care about the ethics behind the goods and services they buy and engage with. In fact, 72% of people in one survey said they are buying more environmentally friendly products than 5 years ago – and the trend is only expected to continue.
This isn’t just important for B2C companies. As companies look at their own supply chains, they are also asking their vendors, suppliers, and service providers about their own sustainability and social impact practices. Companies that are not doing anything regarding sustainability and social impact practices are going to be left behind.
For those that are actively working on sustainability and social impact improvement, it’s necessary to have a way to convey that to clients and consumers.
B Corp Certification is becoming more well-known, and the B Corp logo is known and trusted. It’s still the only reputable, global, third-party vetted certification that evaluates a company – not just a product.
8. Benchmark and improve performance.
Becoming a Certified B Corp is not an easy feat. Neither is maintaining certification, since companies need to recertify every three years. Maintaining your status as a B Corp involves consistently staying on top of beneficial practices such as:
- Identifying and tracking KPIs
- Reviewing and updating your policies
- Calculating your carbon footprint
- Publishing an Impact Report
- Paying living wages
Certified B Corps are committed to continuous improvement. They’re generally not content to know that they’ve done one or two good things and now can feel good about what they’ve done.
Rather, they’re looking to continue to build a better business. They recognize that by using the B Impact Assessment (BIA), the online tool required for certification, and meeting the B Corp performance standards, they will always be presented with new ideas, new opportunities, and new challenges to further develop their businesses.
The BIA also has a feature that helps companies to benchmark their own performance against those of others by size, industry, and country – an invaluable resource for people who strive to continually increase the positive impact that they want to have in the world.
9. Generate sales and business development opportunities
Perhaps because the movement is still one of early adopters, B Corps want to do business with other B Corps.
If you are a business owner committed to joining this movement, and you’ve done the work to get certified, then it’s natural to want to do business with others that share your values.
In general, when B Corps are looking to hire a marketing agency, buy gifts for clients, purchase office equipment for employees, work with a new accountant, or otherwise spend their own money for products or services, they will often look to other B Corps first.
10. Save money and access services
Getting your business certified as a B Corp can save you money in the long run.
Well, many B Corps not only want to do business with each other, but they also offer discounts to other B Corps.
The B Hive has a Marketplace that includes discounts for products and services. In addition, many B2B B Corps will also offer reduced pricing for other B Corps.
As an added bonus, since the B Hive is open to all employees of B Corps, your team can also get discounts on wine, clothes, and more.
Why Do Companies Become B Corps?
Companies become B Corps for a number of reasons, ranging from joining a community of changemakers, aligning their business with their values, gaining a marketing advantage, and tapping into recruitment and retention benefits.
Is B Corp Certification Worth It?
B Corp certification is not easy to attain, but when a company gets certified, the benefits are significant! More than 5,000 companies around the world are already certified and more are joining the movement every day.
Have you considered how your company might benefit from B Corp certification?
Speak with a B Corp consultant to learn more.