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B Lab: Helping Companies Not Only Be the Best in the World, But the Best FOR the World

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Joan Brunwasser       (Page 3 of 4 pages) Become a premium member to see this article and all articles as one long page.     Permalink

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Through this experience, I developed a passion for using business as a force for good. As I said before, government and nonprofits are necessary but insufficient to solve today's greatest challenges. Bart Houlahan, Andrew Kassoy and I cofounded B Lab to serve those entrepreneurs who are using business to create a better world.

However, we identified two systemic challenges that must be addressed if we are to use the power of business to create the greatest positive impact. The first is a lack of standards to help us tell the difference between good companies and just good marketing; and the second is existing corporate law that demands that business prioritize shareholder value maximization to the exclusion of the value created for all stakeholders.

By certifying B Corporations, supporting benefit corporation legislation, encouraging all companies to measure what matters (impact) using the free B Impact Assessment and providing B Analytics to the impact investing market, we hope to help redefine success in business so all companies compete to not only be the best in the world, but the best for the world.

JB: Sounds good to me. I was surprised and pleased to notice when I was looking for baking goods at the grocery store that one of my options was King Arthur Flour, which had a B Corp label on its package. Needless to say, I snatched it up! But there must be more efficient ways for our readers to learn which companies are B Corps so that they can patronize them. Please fill us in.

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the coveted B Corp seal by B Lab

JCG: Good point, Joan. With over 850 B Corps, it is hard to keep track. The first place to look is our website . Immediately on the top right of our homepage is our "Find a B Corp" search tool. You can also get to our directory instantly here .

Another great source for B Corp products is the B Corp store on Vine.com . Here you can not only identify certified companies, but also shop instantly. Finally, keep an eye out for our community ad campaign, both on the web and in Ogden publications, such as Utne Reader, Mother Earth News and Natural Home & Garden.

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And of course, feel free to follow us on Facebook and Twitter (@Bcorporation) for all the latest news, including announcements welcoming our newest Bs.

2013 Annual Champions Retreat Group by B Lab

JB: Excellent. Very helpful. What's the story behind this group shot, Jay?

JCG: The Champions retreat is our annual gathering of B Corps. Leadership/representation is invited from any certified company. Last month around 300 of us gathered in Boulder, Colorado, including B Corps from New Zealand, Australia, Europe and South America. Essentially it's an opportunity to network, enjoy.

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JB: Fun! I read a disturbing article very recently about how a number of big companies, Home Depot and Trader Joe's among them , were downsizing employees to part-time in order to escape providing health insurance ahead of the introduction of the Affordable Care Act. That's disappointing. If a B Corp were to do that, would it be spotted? And if so, would the company be stripped of its B Corp status?

JCG: If a B Corp made this change to their worker practices, it would show up in a reduced B Impact Score. If that reduction resulted in a score below 80 (the performance bar for certification), the B Corp would have a certain period of time to implement new practices (worker, community, or environmental). However, if they were unable to increase their score to 80 or above, they would lose their certification.

JB: That makes sense. What haven't we talked about yet?

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Joan Brunwasser is a co-founder of Citizens for Election Reform (CER) which since 2005 existed for the sole purpose of raising the public awareness of the critical need for election reform. Our goal: to restore fair, accurate, transparent, secure elections where votes are cast in private and counted in public. Because the problems with electronic (computerized) voting systems include a lack of (more...)

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