For-profit businesses can make money and make a difference. That’s the premise behind the more than 3,900 companies around the world that are certified as B Corporations.
B Lab, which oversees B Corp certification, says B Corps
“are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community and the environment.” Among the best-known B Corps are Athleta, Ben & Jerry’s, Bombas, Leesa and Patagonia.
B Corp encourages consumers to flex their purchasing muscles to support these ethically minded businesses.
In February 2021, former Vice President Al Gore, gave a hearty endorsement
of the B Corp movement. The first B Corps became certified in 2007. Gore is co-founder and chairman of sustainability-focused Generation Investment Management, which itself is a B Corp.
“The global sustainability revolution is the biggest investment opportunity in history. Those that make the boldest and earliest commitments have the chance to see the biggest economical and environmental gains,” Gore said. “More businesses are realizing the tremendous opportunities of the sustainability revolution.”
Austin, Texas-based Vital Farms fully came to that realization in 2016, when it earned B Corp certification. The business sells pasture-raised eggs and butter.
“Being a B Corp puts us in great company with likeminded businesses — businesses with the intent to make the world a better place,” Vital Farms says on its website
. “Their company continuously challenges us to reassess our goals and uncover fresh, innovative ways to make an even bigger impact.”
Making a B Corp-level impact isn’t as simply as filling out a form, though.
A prospective B Corp must complete an assessment process, submit documentation, fill out a questionnaire, go through background checks and potentially host a site review. Once a company is certified, it must go through recertification every three years.
During the assessment process, a company must score more than 80 points on the B Impact Assessment, a free online platform for evaluating the company’s impact on consumers, employees, suppliers, the community and the environment. The top score is 200. All certified B Corps must share their impact reports on the B Corps website.
Christopher Marquis, author of Better Business: How the B Corp Movement Is Remaking Capitalism
, says in a Q&A about his book that companies have embraced social responsibility for a long time but don’t necessarily uphold their end of the bargain. The B Corp initiative holds businesses accountable for their social responsibility claims, he says.
“It’s easy for a company to say they will do something, but unless their actions are tracked and measured, they can easily fall short. With empty promises known as greenwashing — companies make themselves appear ‘green’ while not actually pursuing environmental initiatives. This is why so many people don’t trust large corporations,” Marquis says. “The rigorous B Corp audit and assessment process filters out greenwashing because certification requires meeting high standards in several areas.”
Here’s a look at five businesses that recently met those high B Corp standards.
Littleton, Colorado-based ALOHA
produces organic plant-based protein bars, powders and drinks. It scored 81.1 points out of a possible 200 points on the B Corp scale. ALOHA’s high marks for supporting its workers and the environment represented more than half the company’s score.
“ALOHA is dedicated to building a business rooted in good — good people, good food, good partners, all good things,” ALOHA’s CEO, Brad Charron, says in a news release
. “This achievement was a natural step for the company as we double down on our dedication to create good, healthy, plant-based food and drinks while using our business as a force for good. As an employee-owned company built by and for the people, this is only the beginning — we plan to walk the talk.”
A maker of organic foods, Amy’s scored 102.7 points out of a possible 200 points on the B Corp scale.
B Lab attributes Amy’s score to its dedication to making organic meals more accessible and convenient, as well as its values-driven principles of caring for employees and the community. For example, Amy’s offers on-site medical centers staffed with bilingual doctors at its manufacturing plants.
“When we founded Amy’s over three decades ago, it was based on the premise that making great tasting food from responsibly sourced, organic ingredients would fulfill a need and make people’s lives easier,” Andy Berliner, founder and chairman of Petaluma, California-based Amy’s, says in a news release
. “Over the years, we’ve learned that choosing to do what’s right for people and our planet, even when it’s not the easiest option, is what leads to success in business and in the positive impact we can make.”
3. Harris Woolf Almonds
A grower-owned producer of almonds and almond products, Harris Woolf Almonds scored 87.8 points out of a possible 200 points on the B Corp scale. The Coalinga, California-based company received kudos for its support of local economic development efforts and its support of the workforce.
“Only looking at the world in terms of profits is shortsighted,” Michael Briano, vice president of sales and marketing at Harris Woolf Almonds, says in a news release
. “We applied for B Corp certification because we wanted to ensure we were doing everything we could. We put our social and environmental impact, accountability and transparency to the test — and we passed.”
4. Innersense Organic Beauty
A producer of “clean” hair care products, Concord, California-based Innersense scored 83.5 points out of a possible 200 points on the B Corp scale. More than half of those points stem from the company’s commitment to workers and the community.
“From our inception, we envisioned a brand ‘beyond business,’ giving back and being change makers along the way. We’ve grown to a place where we can now do that. Our B Corp certification amplifies our guiding principles and brand pillars: Be Well, Be Beautiful and Be Conscious,” Greg Starkman, founder of Innersense Organic Beauty, says in a news release
5. Tillamook County Creamery Association
Tillamook, a farmer-owned maker of cheese, ice cream, sour cream, butter and yogurt, scored 86.6 points out of a possible 200 points on the B Corp scale.
The Tillamook, Oregon-based dairy products company says the keys to achieving B Corp certification are its commitments to:
- Thriving farms
- Healthful cows
- Inspired consumers
- Enduring ecosystems
- Fulfilled employees
- Enriched communities
“Tillamook has been dedicated to stewardship since the beginning, so we didn’t have to change who we are to become B Corp certified. But we did have to prove how we live out our commitments to all our stakeholders,” Jocelyn Bridson, director of environment and community impact at Tillamook, says in a news release
. “We follow a model of continuous improvement, and we are always pushing to do better. Earning B Corp certification is a sign that we are on the right track and it offers a platform to improve our practices and performance over time.”
Want to support B Corps businesses on Vitacost.com? Here are five brands to check out.
Eugene, Oregon-based Yogi
offers more than 40 blends of herbal tea. Its mantra is “Feel Good, Be Good, Do Good.”
Gilsum, New Hampshire-based Badger
specializes in organic personal care products, such as lip balm, body balm, sunscreen, hair oil and bug repellant. Last year, Badger switched to 100 percent solar power for all of its operations through installation of 1,384 rooftop and ground-mounted solar panels.
, an employee-owned company based in Norwich, Vermont, makes baking flour and baking mixes. In 2020, it introduced products for keto, low-calorie and gluten-free baking
“Our mission is rooted in building stronger communities, fostering the connections that come from baking and sharing,” says Karen Colberg, the company’s co-CEO.
, based in Sebastopol, California, sells herbal teas, lozenges and capsules, as well as hemp-and-herb teas. The company has invested more than $6.6 million through its social business model; recipients of these funds include the Traditional Medicinals Foundation and WomenServe.
Brattleboro, Vermont-based New Chapter
produces vitamins and herbal supplements. “Our concern for the planet is expressed not only through our sourcing and formulation principles but also with every action we take as a company,” the company says on its website.