What is a B Corporation and why does it matter?

Plaine Products is proud to have been a B Corp since January, 2018. B Corporations are businesses that are certified by B Lab and have confirmed that they are working towards sustainable social and environmental goals. Our mission of reducing single use plastic was a natural fit as B Corp companies work towards reducing inequality and poverty, a healthier environment, stronger local communities, and the creation of jobs with dignity and purpose – all things Plaine Products prioritizes.

Applying for B Corp status is not something taken lightly, as you’ll see below. But we believe that it’s important to join these associations. Hopefully as more companies do, other businesses will be pressured to prioritize these values along with profit. Together we can work for a better future.

How is a company B Corp certified?

B Corp Certification takes at least a month as a business is scored on the B Impact Assessment. It requires a great deal of time and effort on the part of the business to quality. The assessment judges companies and their impact on their workers, customers, community and the environment. B Lab oversees the process and helps keep businesses transparent and legally accountable. After the initial assessment they require additional information to back up a company’s sustainability claims. Every year B Lab selects 10% of its companies for on-site reviews. Every three years every company has a full review.

All B Corp businesses must also agree to the B Corp Declaration of Interdependence:

We envision a global economy that uses business as a force for good.

This economy is comprised of a new type of corporation – the B Corporation – which is purpose-driven and creates benefit for all stakeholders, not just shareholders.

As B Corporations and leaders of this emerging economy, we believe:

  • That we must be the change we seek in the world.
  • That all business ought to be conducted as if people and place mattered.
  • That, through their products, practices, and profits, businesses should aspire to do no harm and benefit all.
  • To do so requires that we act with the understanding that we are dependent upon another and thus responsible for each other and future generations.”

To qualify, a B Corp must score at least 80 out of 200 points on the B Impact Assessment. Plaine Products has a current score of 83.2. We are proud of the fact we were able to qualify as such a young business and will keep working to raise our score as we grow. The average score for a comparable business is 50.9.

What’s the difference between a B Corp and a benefit corporation?

B Corp is a certification. It’s like getting a label for products that verifies that they’re vegan (like with Certified Vegan). Or cruelty-free (like with Leaping Bunny).

A benefit corporation, however, is a type of legal structure for a business, like an LLC (limited liability company). Benefit corporations are legally required to pursue positive stakeholder impact along with profits and it’s built into their very framework as a company whereas a company may apply to be a B Corp at any point. Some companies, like Plaine Products, are both B Corps and benefit corporations (and being a benefit corporation automatically fulfills the legal requirements to be a B Corp).

How many B Corps are there?

As of late 2018, there are over 2,000 certified B Corps across 130 industries in 50 different countries. You can find out about local B Corps using the B Corp Directory.subscription bath products

Some of the most notable B Corps include Patagonia, Etsy, Ben & Jerry’s, Bombas, Athleta and Method Products.

Why do B Corps matter?

It’s becoming increasingly important and top-of-mind that consumers vote with their dollars. Where you spend and invest your money has an impact on your local community, worker conditions and the state of the planet as a whole.

Green America puts it pretty succinctly,

Each time you buy at a local business, you tell the world your community is worth more than a big-box store sale.

When you buy organic, you tell the world you want more farmers to grow healthy, safe food.

Every time you buy certified fair trade, you fight poverty.

Each time you buy from a business owned by women or people of color, you help build an inclusive economy.

Every time you don’t buy something, you tell the world you don’t need more stuff to have a good life.”

The B Corp certification helps lead the way in building a stronger future with more accountable, sustainable companies (and not just in the environmental sense). Their motto is  “serving a global community of people using businesses as a force for good.”

We hope to keep making a positive impact on our employees, partner companies and of course – you, our customers!

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