Sustainability in business is no longer a niche concern for focused environmental enterprises. With the global awareness of humanity’s impact on our natural environment, more and more people are making their product choices based on the green credentials of the business. Traditionally, the businesses are driven by the rat-race of money-making, but the trend is showing the glimpses decline now.
These days, most company websites would have a sustainability statement or some part of their ‘about us’ section explaining how their business focuses on the welfare of the planet. But does it help to get certification to show how eco-friendly you are?
B Corporation is something you might be aware of or seen it being mentioned on some websites or business articles. The not for profit company has been making waves over the past few years and has had some high profile sign-ups. You’d expect companies like Ecover and Seventh Generation to be B Corp certified. But does it matter to your business, or your customers if you have that B logo?
First of all, it’s worth taking a look at what it means and what it takes to be B Corp certified.
What is B Corp Certified?
To become B Corp certified, a business needs to have been trading for at least 12 months and then needs to complete the assessment on the B Corporation website. The assessment looks at the business impact in several key areas, including:
In order to be awarded a B corp certificate, a company first needs to score at least 80 out of 200. That’s the basic criteria. You are then interviewed online, where you need to present evidence of any claims, such as the sustainability of raw materials used by your company.
B Corp certification lasts for two years, and you have to renew it after the duration is over. Companies are encouraged to use the B Corp findings to develop their environmental and social strategy and improve their scores with each new assessment.
Is it a payoff to get B Corp Certification?
B Corp certificate costs from 500 to 25000 dollars annually. The amount is decided depending on the size of your business. Indeed, it is a decent sum. But it is nothing more than peanuts compared to how much capital this certificate can accumulate for you in the long run.
Remember, it is no longer the age where people are readily willing to accept the tall claims of a company in their marketing campaign. It is the era of millennials. They are keener to look at the sustainability of a business. Nothing turns this generation off more than the vacuum between what businesses preach and what they actually practice.
Moreover, the business community also realizes that its responsibility goes further than simply milking money out of people. In a nutshell, B Corp has become one of the most trusted badges for consumers.
As an example, one success story is of B Corp certified shoe company, Baabuk. Their brand USP is based on the sustainable and eco-friendly factors of their main material, wool. But they don’t just focus on the materials of their product. Their approach is to improve the lives of the suppliers and manufacturers (including where the sheep wool comes from) and minimize the mileage from supply to the factory.
Being B Corp certified gives brands like Baabuk the means to authenticate their claims, and be held to a high and independently managed standard. The payoff is that customers actively looking for a shoe brand that aligns with their personal values will be able to trust that Baabuk or any other B Corp certified brand, are the real deal. And, when choosing between two sustainable shoe brands, they’re more likely to choose the one that can prove it’s green credentials.
Dan Witting, the co-founder of Baabuk, says, “B-Corp certification was a key factor behind a surge in growth for our company. Being able to measure ourselves against B Corps standards gives us, not just a verifiable quality, but a guide by which to improve our sustainable credentials”.
Is it really that effective?
Although it’s tempting to say that no-one really pays attention to certification, the fact is that being accountable and eco-friendly is definitely a growing trend for more and more businesses. And as if to prove it, reports suggest that B Corps certified businesses in the UK see growth 28 times above national GDP.
The reasons for this growth are two-fold. First, of course, is that shoppers want to see that their hard earned cash isn’t going to contribute to sweatshops or plastic pollution. But perhaps most interestingly, the second reason is that B Corp certified companies also attract people who want to work for a brand that has a real purpose and meaning. In other words, you don’t look for the talent, but talent looks for you.
In accordance with the B Corp certification terms, fair treatment of workers, and looking after their health is also the responsibility of companies. It keeps the employees happy and healthy, and it is no revelation that these two factors play a vital role to get the best out of your employees. As a result, the productivity at the workplace increases a great deal, which eventually adds into the bottom line.
So, obviously, the short answer to the above question is yes. It does pay off to get a B corp certificate. The increasing popularity of the B corp certificate speaks volume about this claim.
If you look from the marketing point of view, B corp certificate adds to the reputation of your brand. So you might not need to invest as heavily in marketing campaigns.
Other than that, B Corp certification measures your progress and highlights the areas where you are doing good and where you need to improve further. This measurement process is a standard one, which means your performance is sure to improve if you lend an ear to their word.