Conventionally speaking, corporations are only required to do the bare minimum when it comes to transparency with consumers and updating their business so that it is on track to reaching sustainable development goals. The B Corp certification takes this a step further by legally requiring the certified companies to consider the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment. The certification essentially extends a cradle to grave analysis generally used only on products to every aspect of that company. Simple Switch’s positive impact partners, The Good Pencil Company and Jelt, are certified B Corporations.
What is it?
The B Corp certification verifies a company’s social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. This type of certification aims to accelerate a global culture shift to redefine success in business that involves a more inclusive and sustainable economy. B Corps use profits and growth as a means to make a positive impact on their employees, communities, and the environment. These corporations are purpose-driven and creates benefit for all stakeholders rather than just shareholders. In order to become certified as a B Corporation, a third-party validates performance, enforces legal accountability, and ensures public transparency.
Why does it matter?
The B Corp certification matters because it gives companies a chance to step up and commit to a more rigorous standard. Because this certification is voluntary, B Corps are more likely to go above even the certificate’s standards. That might explain why more than 500 B Corps have already publicly committed to become net-zero by 2030. This certification is powerful because it can speed up systematic change than a top-down approach, such as the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement, or a bottom-up approach, such as grassroots movements, can achieve. The legal obligation to hold their end of the bargain benefits everyone involved either directly or indirectly. The greater public transparency, in particular, can empower consumers with the knowledge this certification requires. This in-turn allows consumers to make educated purchases that they feel good about.
The hope is that fellow companies follow suit and become B Corps themselves as the market starts to incentivize greater public transparency and stricter regulations to benefit both people of all areas of the company and the planet.