As I was adding the B Corp Certification icon to the footer code, I realized that I didn’t really know what that meant or why anyone should care.
What is B Corporation Certification?
B Lab (the non-profit organization that anoints business with B Corp Certification) uses the following blurb to describe B Corp Certification:
“B Corp is to business what Fair Trade certification is to coffee or USDA Organic certification is to milk.”
That’s great if you are familiar with those other groups, but if not, that’s not much help. I have a vague idea that those groups judge the quality of the products that they are certifying in some way. I’d like to think that USDA certification keeps people from getting poisoned and that Fair Trade coffee makes sure that the coffee you are purchasing isn’t processed by slave labor. I was still kind of lost.
On their website, B Lab goes on to further describe B Corporations as businesses that “meet the highest standards of verified, overall social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability.” Not only do B Corps need to provide quality products and services, but, in the process of doing business, they also must be open about those processes, treat people fairly, and care about the environment.
Right now, it seems like nearly every business out there is all too willing to talk about how great they are, how socially and environmentally conscious they are. But a bunch of talk doesn’t make a business authentic. They have to actually walk the walk. That is the biggest benefit to becoming a B Corp. A third-party examines your business practices and stakes their reputation on declaring that you are who you say that you are.
“A rating system can help differentiate those who are truly making a difference from those who are simply telling a story.”
-Antony Bugg-Levine, Rockefeller Foundation
Why should I care?
Before coming to Bullhorn, I used to work in local government, so I was familiar with how things are done in a large organization strict processes (I’m trying to find a tactful way of saying “bureaucracy”), and it was that feeling of being a very small, insignificant cog in a wheel that I couldn’t stand. The much smaller (and agile) team at Bullhorn felt more like a family to me, which made my switch an easy decision to make, even for someone as risk-averse as myself.
I must admit that I did not have a hand in our gaining B Corp status (shoutout to Brad and Stevie, whom I believe did the lion’s share of the work), but I can see the end results whenever I reach for a recycled paper towel (sourced from another B Corp) or go to pour our coffee grounds into the composting bucket. I’m lazy, but since everyone else has already done the hard work for me, I get to feel the personal satisfaction that we aren’t exploiting someone to turn a buck or producing things that only exist for people to throw away.
Ultimately, I’m happy that we are a B Corp not only because we are now certifiably awesome, but also because we have proven that making our world a better place is just as – if not more – important to us as turning a profit. It proves that I’m exactly where I should be – with talented, like-minded people that legit care about me and my well-being, as well as the rock to which we’re all clinging.