Have you heard of a B corporation?

The good folks at B Lab have developed a new certification that will supposedly help to separate the companies who are really, really trying to “walk the enviro & social talk” from those that are just playing the green marketing game.  The certification process is basically an audit of a company’s operating practices to provide a standard for Corp. social responsibility claims.  To date, they have certified 100+ small/mid-size businesses as B corporations.

As there are already certifications and standards out there (and none seem to have really done that well)…what makes a B corporation any different?  Well, it does seem that a B Corp. cert. requires a company to go a bit farther than normal.  As a recent Financial Times article points out:

“A B Corp has what co-founder Jay Coen Gilbert calls a “gut check”. Having scored sufficiently high on an initial survey, a B-Corporation must then amend its articles of incorporation to require its board to take into account the interests not only of shareholders, but of “current and retired employees, suppliers, customers” and “the communities and society” in which it operates.”

So, the B corp “stamp of approval” requires companies to actually amend their articles of incorporation to embed their core values into the company…nice.

In addition, it seems that B Lab asks companies to sign up for a pretty expensive process -(annual license fee of 10 basis points of sales).  But, the founders are banking on the idea that this certification could finally help folks separate the good marketing from the good companies (as the mentioned on their website).

This is a pretty good idea and it has some heavy hitting investors behind it (e.g. Rockefeller Foundation).

If you get 5 minutes, hop over to the webpage.  And check out their Declaration of Interdependence in the about me section.  I really like their vision of a new, more sustainable world and I wish them all the best in getting this movement going.