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Good Company: What Does it Really Mean to Be a B Corp?

March is B Corp Month!

B Corps are companies that are managed towards a deeper purpose than profit. You can think of a B Corp as the antithesis of a stereotypical evil corporation (E Corps!) whose appetite for profit trumps all. To become certified as a B Corp, a company is assessed and scored on how it manages its  impact on the environment, workers, customers, suppliers, and its community. A score well above the baseline of typical businesses is required to become certified.

Keap has been a B Corp since 2017 and recently underwent recertification. The questions we had to answer ranged broadly, from the ethics of our supplier sourcing and the environmental impact of our production facility to our community-volunteering policies. 

The process reminded me of the multifaceted potential a company has to create positive (or negative) impact. We can create happier people by investing in our team’s training and development. We can create healthier ecosystems by working with well-certified suppliers. We can address racial inequality through unbiased hiring approaches. 

In fact, every single interaction we have offers us a chance to leave the world better in some way.

Many modern companies focus on telling beautifully branded stories about their manufacturing ethics or progressive values. It can conjure the illusion we’re living in a modern era of benevolent businesses. However, the B Corporation certification reminds me that impact needs to be considered holistically to create real change. It’s not enough for companies to treat customers well while treating employees poorly, or launch environmental initiatives while creating vast amounts of waste.


Everlane, a decade old clothing retailer, has been criticized for failing to reflect its own practice of "Radical Transparency" with its internal employment practices. Source: The New York Times

 

Skeptics of purpose-minded businesses suggest companies will always tend towards a profit motive as they seek growth for absentee shareholders. This doesn’t have to be the case. We’ve written in the past about the available systemic changes that can help ensure a company takes responsibility for its many stakeholders, all while socializing beneficial outcomes with these communities and the world at large.

Until then, B Corps are at the vanguard of a better way of doing business out of choice, not obligation. We think that’s very deserving of its own month, and we encourage you to discover other B Corps via the directory here and to look out for the B Corp logo when shopping. Your choice to support the B Corp movement motivates more companies to adopt the certification and, ultimately, pushes policy makers to create the systemic change necessary to hold all companies to higher, holistic standards.

With gratitude,

— Stephen from Keap


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