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A Better Way to Do Business—Why I Became a B Corp

I want to share some very good news. Vision Executive Coaching recently became certified as a B Corporation, or B Corp for short. B Corp certification means that Vision has undergone a rigorous assessment of our ethical, social and environmental business practices, and that we meet the highest standards.

I’m extremely proud of this move for a number of reasons. First, it is a way to further stand for values that I believe are important. Second, this is a way that my company can have an impact on important issues, not just through the work that I do but also by joining other companies that are committed to the same values. And finally, I believe adhering to the high standards of a B Corporation will allow me to deliver even better work for everyone I touch—my clients, the communities I work in, and the business community as a whole.

What is a Certified B Corporation? 

A_BCorp_logo_POSB Corporations are a new kind of company.  They use the power of business not only to make money, but also for social good. B Corps hold themselves accountable for profits, as well as the impact they have on their communities and on the planet. There are currently over 1,100 certified B Corps from 35 countries and 121 industries, and the numbers continue to grow rapidly.

Today, the B Corp community includes many household names such as Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream, Patagonia, and Seventy Generation, as well as a number of well-known Colorado companies such as Go Lite, Newton Running, and Rally Software. There have also been a number of articles written on B Corporations in publications like Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, NPR, The New York Times, and many others.

Leading business schools are also supporting the B Corp community. The Yale School of Management, NYU Stern School of Business, Columbia Business School, Kellogg School of Management, and Stanford Graduate School of Business all provide loan forgiveness for graduates who go to work for a certified B Corporation. This has the dual purpose of incentivizing top talent to consider B Corporations, while also providing B Corporations with a powerful recruitment tool.

Why I believe the B Corporation movement is important

I believe business has the power to solve many of our most pressing problems, and that business has an important role in society—along with nonprofits and government. Indeed, the notion of “innovation” that we in the business community talk about so often can be defined as “generating value through novel solutions to problems.”

However, business can only play a beneficial role if it’s conducted responsibly and ethically. All B Corp leaders hold themselves accountable to the “triple-bottom-line”—profitability, people (the impact on people and communities), and planet (the impact on the planet). And there are some very impressive results on how B Corporations compare to other companies.

B Corps improve life in their communities because they are:

  • 68% more likely to donate at least 10% of profits to charity
  • 47% more likely to use on-site renewable energy
  • 18% more likely to use suppliers for low-income communities

B Corps create higher quality jobs because they are:

  • 55% more likely to cover at least some of employee health insurance costs
  • 45% more likely to give bonuses to non-executive employees
  • 28% more likely to have minorities and women in management

And perhaps most importantly, successful B Corporations demonstrate that it’s possible to have this impact while also running a profitable business that delivers excellent value to customers. In many ways, this helps all businesses because B Corporations’ demonstrated success inspires all businesses to compete on a higher lever— to not only to be the best in the world but to be the best for the world.

What this means for my customers

Many of my customers share my values about socially responsible and ethical business practices. My certification means that I’ve formalized these values into my company. B Corp companies are also a close-knit community of highly innovative, insightful, and courageous thought leaders, who are often eager to share learning. That provides me with even more breadth of insight to offer my customers. And finally, adhering to high standards of  integrity in how we treat our customers is a significant part of the B Corp certification process.  This is because customers are an important part of the community that all companies work within.

Interested in learning more about B Corporations?

So, as you’ve probably figured out by now, I’m pretty excited about the B Corp movement. The certification process is administered by B Lab, which is the global nonprofit organization supporting the B Corporation movement. Like anything of value, the process of obtaining certification required some time, energy, and focus. However, the process was also immediately beneficial.

The process includes an extensive on-line questionnaire about business practices, and is followed by an interview with the B Lab staff. Even before I obtained the certification, the B Lab staff highlighted valuable new ideas that I’ll be implementing in the near future.

I invite you to reach out with any questions. You can also contact B Lab directly through this link.

 

 

One Comment

  1. Lisa Hecht January 25, 2015 at 2:54 pm - Reply

    Gerry, I have great admiration for you, for your work to demonstrate your commitment to Social Responsibility by becoming a certified B-corp! Corporations have tremendous power and influence, and when they include social responsibility along with profit as their goals, they can make a great difference in the world we all experience.

    Congratulations! And thank you for making us all aware of both the option and the process!

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