It's B-Corp Month! Which means, throughout March, over 3,700 companies around the world are celebrating their status as a Certified B Corporation. On Brothers, you can find three of those B-Corps: MUD Jeans, Riz Boardshorts and Elvis & Kresse. But, what does it mean for a brand to be B-Corp? And, why should you look out for it?
Traditionally, businesses answer to shareholders, prioritising profit to fill their pockets. But, B Corps are different. Instead of focusing only on income, known as the ‘bottom line’, they consider every stakeholder in the operation, adding people and planet to profit to create a ‘triple bottom line’. Not content with making money for a few, B-Corps are the businesses that benefit all.
To become a B-Corp, companies must pass the nonprofit B-Lab’s Impact Assessment, a questionnaire covering five different areas of their business:
- Customers: who you’re serving, and the impact you have on them.
- Environment: both direct and indirect impact.
- Workers: the treatment of employees, their benefits, and working conditions.
- Communities: those working within the company, and those it has an impact on outside.
- Governance: the company mission, its structure, and transparency.
To be certified, they must earn at least 80 points out of 200. Less than 50% sounds pretty easy, right? Not so fast. The pass mark reflects the difficulty of the assessment. Take MUD Jeans, for example. They were Best For The World in the environment category, yet still only scored 124.7 overall. Because, B-Corp isn’t a tick box exercise, it's a company-wide commitment to all stakeholders. A commitment they're required to include in their legal documents if they want to be a B-Corp. They then undergo random audits to ensure they’re up to scratch, and recertify again every three years to keep the B Corp stamp.
For you and I, the stamp helps us know if a brand is serious about doing good, acting in a similar way to our own six-point standard. Other certifications are still effective in their given areas, but the B Lab’s all-round assessment is the broadest challenge to traditional business you can find - placing all stakeholders on the same level of consideration as income and profits. If you're still curious, you can find every B-Corp’s score on the B Corp Directory, broken down into each area of assessment.
B-Corp named MUD Jeans Best For The World: Environment for the fourth time last year. You can read more about the innovative production techniques and circular design they use in our product footprints.
For the business themselves, the assessment holds them accountable to their social and environmental ambitions. And, once they’re certified, it provides an incentive to keep improving. Elvis & Kresse were one of the first to certify as a B-Corp in 2015. But, that was never the end-goal. Their co-founder Kresse, shared this earlier this month that “for us, [B-Corp certification] means going further than being sustainable and net zero, we are now taking our first steps into becoming net regenerative.”
For MUD Jeans, their pledges this month focused on promoting employee welfare, diversity and inclusion, and further investigating their waste production. Whichever B-Corp it might be out of the 3,700, their transparent commitment empowers you to make better buying decisions. And, through supporting them, you become an active agent in championing the common goal of, as B-Lab puts it, "transforming the global economy to benefit all people, communities and the planet."
You can find a selection of Best For The World styles in our B-Corp Brothers collection.