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What is a B Corporation?

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Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. These dual-certified companies are using the power of business to solve social and environmental problems.

The Inspiration Behind the B Corp

The motivation for B Lab came from a very renowned author, Paul Hawken, author of The Ecology of Commerce. Mr. Hawken wrote of creating a parallel system of business law that would extend legal rights and protections to the ‘natural souls’ of corporations so that businesses could focus on a triple bottom line of people, planet, and profit.

It was from here, three management consultants, one from the Altitude Organizers, another from Herman Miller, and the other from CLWR joined together to create B Lab. It was a dream that soon turned into reality. In 2006, B Lab was born in Philadelphia. They have since grown significantly, and with great recognition.

Today, B Lab has become a global force for redefining success in business, building on a decade’s worth of growth and success and supported by top investors and partners, and a growing community of nearly 2,000 employees and more than 1,200 member-companies.

The Birth of the B Corp

The B Corp certification was born on October 31, 2006, after a surge in the number of B Lab member-companies that wanted to “be the change they want to see in the world” took the market by storm. B Lab’s first publicly available tool, the B Impact Assessment, enabled companies to measure their social and environmental performance and achieve B Lab’s highest score, Certified B Corporation™. Today, the B Corp certification is an even more rigorous standard that holds businesses to a higher level of impact than the original B Impact Assessment.

The Goal of B Lab

The goal of the B Corp is to make it easier for people and organizations to do well and make a positive difference by turning inspiration into action. By harnessing the power of the original B Impact Assessment, this new tool will be the leading way for companies to measure social and environmental performance and become Certified B Corporations.

The B Corp & The Community of Companies

On September 25, 2015, Washington, D.C. was the host to the B Corp Community Convening, a 1-day conference to connect, inspire and guide the global B Corp movement. It was attended by over 2,000 entrepreneurs and corporate leaders, investors, and public sector representatives.

The Community Convening, organized by B Lab and Unilever, included expert speakers, panel discussions, a keynote address, luncheon with thought-leaders and an evening of dining, networking, and dancing. The event also featured a lively marketplace where attendees could view new B Corp-related products and services.

“The extraordinary growth of the global B Corp movement is creating the foundation for a more sustainable, equitable, and unified model of business. The Community Convening is a celebration of this great advance, but also a launch pad for further evolution of the movement. It is an opportunity to connect, inspire, and guide the future of the B Corp movement as we strive to achieve greater impact across our global network,” said Jay Coen Gilbert, cofounder of B Lab.

Gathering companies, government agencies, and other organizations together, B Lab aims to make a difference in the way that value is generated and distributed in society; to transform the definition of success in business so that it is no longer amassed at the expense of the planet and people; to embrace a new movement of businesses whose interests are aligned with that of their stakeholders and the communities in which they operate; and to realize the case for B Corporations to be a part of the solution, not the problem.

Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash

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