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Becoming a Certified ‘Force for Good’

“Make business a force for good.” That is the underlying message of B Lab, a worldwide nonprofit organization that offers a transparent, third-party system of evaluating a company’s impact on a number of key environmental, sustainability and social factors.

Companies that want to be certified as ‘B Corps’ must take a B Impact Assessment of their practices in five categories:

 

• Workers –What percentage of the company is owned by full-time workers?

 

• Community – What percentage of management is from underreported communities?

 

• Environment – Does the company monitor and record its universal waste production?

 

• Customers – Does the company verify its products or services improve the impact of its client organizations?

 

• Governance – What portion of management is evaluated in writing of their performance in meeting corporate, social and environmental targets?

“Instead of a company just being governed by its charter, the whole idea of B Lab is transforming the economy so there’s a three-level purpose – people, profit, planet,” said Kristin Carroll, CEO of RescueAgency – a certified B Corp marketing firm that works with public health departments, nonprofits and health systems.  

“So our focus is on customers, community and workers, whereas some of the companies are much more focused on environment,” she said. “Different organizations have a focus area, but we are all responsible for understanding the whole approach and trying to get better over time.”

 

B Local San Diego

 

In addition to her duties running Rescue, Carroll is also board chair of B Local San Diego – a group of local companies who have been certified by B Lab as B Corps and work to support each other and promote the B Lab message.  

B Local San Diego officially formed last year and launched a website in March 2021, but due to pandemic precautions, the group just held their official first board meeting last month.  

“Last year was still COVID and not a great time,” Carroll said, adding that despite the pandemic the group accomplished all its goals for the year: get the website up, start sharing the B Local story across social media platforms, do some networking events and hold two volunteer events.

“This year we have a new set of goals that will be all those things plus a little bit more,” Carroll added.  

Goals for 2022 include working on getting official nonprofit status and growing the network by getting more local companies certified.

 

The B Local San Diego group currently consists of 25 certified B Corp companies across San Diego County, four of which were just added in the last six months, Carroll said.  

B Local groups like the one in San Diego grew out of a need to decentralize the B Lab movement and create opportunity for the over 5,000 B Corps worldwide to support each other in a more efficient manner.

 

The groups are typically nonprofits that create events for better networking and share the B Lab story at places like universities and local startup groups.

 

“Sharing the B Corp message of making social impact a part of a company’s governance at startup events is important because it’s easier to start a company that way than it is to retroactively move a company into those standards,” Carroll said. “Knowing those things at the very beginning can increase the B Corp impact.”

‘Like-minded Businesses’

 

San Diego-based KOA+ROY, maker of natural massage cubes and soaps, set out to implement the most sustainable business practices and create the maximum social and environmental impact when the company was founded in 2018 by Inga Von Wellsheim and Adrianna Gluyas.  

 

“Adriana and I knew from the start that we wanted KOA+ROY to be a B Corp-certified business and we structured our governance and internal processes with B Corps guidelines in mind,” Von Wellsheim said. “We consider B Corp certification requirements and B Lab online resources as our guides that help us make better decision at every growth stage of our business.”

 

Von Wellsheim said KOA+ROY also benefits from networking with “like-minded businesses in various industries.”

 

“Through our local B Corp chapter, we had the opportunity to connect with some of the champions in our industry and ultimately join the B Corp Beauty Coalition which is an effort to establish best practices and standards in the cosmetic industry worldwide,” she said.  

One of the champions of the health and beauty industry Von Wellsheim cited was Dr. Bronner’s, makers of the top-selling natural soap in North America. The company is known for its sustainability ethos and has been certified as a B Corp company since 2015.

 

“Being both a Benefit Corporation and a Certified B Corp confirms and validates the model on which we run our business, inspired by the legacy of my grandfather, our company founder Emanuel Bronner,” said Michael Bronner, president of Dr. Bronner’s.

 

“As a Benefit Corporation, we have a legal mandate to use our profits to pursue social and environmental benefits, not just to enrich shareholders like a traditional corporation,” Bronner added. “As a Certified B Corp, we have third party metrics that help illustrate what those benefits are and how we can continue to improve over time.”

 

Like Dr. Bronner’s, nonprofit enabling giving platform Classy became a B Corp as part of “a natural progression” of what the company had already “baked into its business from day one,” said Krista Lamp, senior director of brand, events and communication at Classy.

 

“Our commitment and dedication to our customers and the broader social sector is unwavering and our B Corp certification formalizes our commitment to hold ourselves accountable to the highest standard of verified social and environmental performance and public transparency,” Lamp said.  

For more information about B Lab, B Corp certification and B Local San Diego, visit blocalsandiego.org.

B Local San Diego

Founded: 2021

Chair: Kristin Carroll

Website: www.blocalsandiego.org

Member Companies:

Alliant International University

Ando

BLVR

Civilian, Inc.

Classy

Digitopia

Dr. Bronner’s

Flock Freight

ISOS Group, Inc.

KOA+ROY

Liquid Blue

Mama Chia

Offset Alliance

Patara Shoes

Pitaya Foods

Powur, PBC

Rescue Agency

Sozy

Terra Education, Inc.

thinkPARALLAX

University of St. Augustine

VIANOVA, Inc.

Visceral

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