B Corporations: The Business of Doing Good

by | Sep 29, 2022 | What I'm Thinking | 2 comments

Yesterday, my husband came home and was delighted to tell me that he had noticed that the coffee supplier in his office, local roaster Dean’s Beans, had a B Corp symbol on its packaging. Bob has been interested in B Corps for a long time, and his announcement reminded me that I’ve been thinking of posting about B Corps here.

Last week I wrote about the Mondragon Cooperatives, a collection of 95 worker-owned cooperatives employing some 80,000 people in northern Spain. But there are other ways that businesses, and the consumers who support them, can have a positive impact. B Corporations are for-profit companies whose shareholders hold them to account for achieving a mission that benefits the larger society as well as producing profits. B Corporations must undergo an evaluation of the company’s impact on its workers, customers, community and environment. According to the B Lab site (B Lab and Sistema B are the certifying organizations for B Corporations), there are 467,420 people working at 5,818 certified B corporations in 85 different countries.

Some of these companies are quite small (Dean’s Beans), but others are fairly large: Cabot Creamery Cooperative, in Vermont; Danone North America. There are over 50 B Corps in Africa acting as catalysts for sustainable development, and 4000 businesses using the B Lab criteria to “help measure, manage, and improve positive impact performance for environment, communities, customers, suppliers, employees, and shareholders.”

You can use the tools on the B Lab site to identify businesses you might want to work for or support. For example, you can search for Black-owned businesses in the United States, or you can search for companies with the highest environmental certifications.