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What Is a B Corporation and What Are the Benefits?

Published on February 13, 2022

B Corporation label on a bottle of Stumptown cold brew coffee. B Corp is a private certification of for-profit companies of their social and environment performance.

With sustainability initiatives becoming increasingly important for businesses of all industries, more companies are looking into the possibility of becoming B Corporation certified.

What Are Certified B Corporations?

The B Corporation’s website reads, “B Corp Certification is a designation that a business is meeting high standards of verified performance, accountability, and transparency on factors from employee benefits and charitable giving to supply chain practices and input materials.”

For-profit companies who have achieved certified status have undergone a rigorous application process with the B Corporation, measuring the social and environmental impacts of their organization, and many other facets of the business.

How Do You Become a Certified B Corporation?

Successful Project. Smiling Afro Business Lady Working With Papers And Laptop In Modern Office, Free Space

To be certified, a company must “demonstrate high social and environmental performance by achieving a B Impact Assessment score of 80 or above,” in addition to passing the organization’s risk review.

They must also make a commitment to be accountable to all stakeholders and be transparent in their business practices by making their performance information publicly available.   

Why This Company Became Certified

Today, over 4,000 companies in over 50 countries around the world have achieved B Corporation certified status. One of these companies is Physicians Thrive, a consulting group that helps physicians generate, manage and protect their incomes. Although the organization is for-profit, they also contribute to NGOs like Give Sight Global, which helps prevent and treat avoidable blindness in countries around the world.

Given the humanitarian work they’ve done, Physicians Thrive sought the B Corporation certification in 2018. Justin Nabity, the CEO and founder of the company, says this was ultimately a smart move for their team because it has reflected what they represent as an organization, and the direction they’re headed in the future.

Filling a ‘Big Set of Shoes’

Justin Nabity and Reid Lancaster, the co-founders of Physicians Thrive and NGO Give Sight Global, sought the B Corporation certification for their business. Photo courtesy of Give Sight Global.
Justin Nabity and Reid Lancaster, the co-founders of Physicians Thrive and NGO Give Sight Global, sought the B Corporation certification for their business. Photo courtesy of Give Sight Global.

“The B Corp certification reflects who we are and what our culture is about, and we wanted to reflect that to the community to show that we are a different organization,” Nabity says. “We’re not just here to pay bills and die, we’re here to do more than that and make a difference.”

Nabity also noted that the B Corporation has helped them set new benchmarks that they could ultimately grow into, which has helped them evolve into a stronger organization overall.

“Sometimes in life, you feel like you have big shoes to fill, and B Corp has a big set of shoes,” Nabity says. “For organizations that want to grow, this is very much a growth mindset organization and certification, and it’s an amazing place to grow into a bigger pair of shoes.”

Benefits From Becoming Certified as a B Corporation

According to Nabity, the process Physicians Thrive went through to reach certified status included a rigorous set of questions, points systems, an inspection of their organizational structure, corporate documents, operating agreements and more. The process took about three to five months from start to finish, but Nabity says the certification has been well worth the time and effort it took to achieve because of the numerous benefits the organization has seen.

“We’ve seen many benefits since being B Corp certified,” he says. “We’ve gotten a lot more attention from the media, our online visibility has increased, it’s helped us gain more clients if they had to decide between us and other firms, and we’ve been able to build more trust and credibility.”

Overall, Nabity says the certification has enabled Physicians Thrive to connect with others in their community more easily, find more avenues for mentorship and make a bigger impact.

Business as a Force for Good

Carolina Miranda is the founder and CEO of Cultivating Capital, a B Corporation consulting business. Miranda first launched the firm because she believes that businesses can be a force for good in the world, and she supports companies in implementing better social and environmental practices.

Cultivating Capital has been a certified B Corporation since its inception in 2012. Miranda recognized the unique mission behind the certification early on, and she knew she wanted to be a part of the movement.

“I saw then, and continue to see now, that the B Corp movement is unlike any other — it is a global movement to drive systemic change in our capitalist system, not by doing away with capitalism, but by showing that a company can be profitable while also being environmentally responsible and treating people well,” she says.

A Community of ‘Values-Driven Business Owners’

Miranda echoed Nabity’s statements about finding a greater sense of community from the certification, noting that the certification has enabled her to tap into a supportive network of like-minded professionals. 

“One of the primary benefits that I’ve enjoyed from having my company achieve B Corp certification is joining an incredible community of values-driven business owners. Business owners face numerous challenges in running a business and having a community that can provide inspiration, lend support and share resources can be invaluable,” Miranda says. “This really became quite real for me during the early weeks of the pandemic, when the entire B Corp community pulled together and I especially leaned into the community of B Corp women CEOs for support during those challenging days.”

Building a Better Business

Hands growing a young plant / protect nature and environment concept to grow along with the child.

For any organizations who are curious about B Corporation, Miranda recommends they challenge themselves to seek the certification, too.

“Going through the certification process helps you to build a better business in numerous ways, by helping you to see how you can make improvements across your business,” she says. “This often includes strengthening governance practices, identifying how you can take better care of and develop your people, developing or refining your charitable giving practices, working more closely with your supply chain partners, implementing good environmental practices and promoting good customer stewardship.”

To learn more, visit bcorporation.net.

The Author
Mackenzie Patterson is a Toronto-based writer and journalist. She enjoys long walks, iced coffee on tap, and discovering all the latest and greatest health and wellness trends.