What are B-Corps?
This can usually mean one of two things. A Benefit Corporation or B-Corp is type of for-profit entity that includes positive impact on society and the environment in addition to profit as its legally defined goals. B corps differ from traditional corporations in purpose, accountability, and transparency, but not in taxation.
B Corporation is also a private certification issued by a non-profit, B Lab, that asses social and environmental performance of companies. As of May 2015, there are over 1,200 corporations in 41 countries that have this certification.
While the private certification is a more stringent test (albeit a non-public one), both these definitions encapsulate a common mission and statement about the companies — that they are for-profit organizations with public commitments to social and environment sustainability, and transparency. These two definitions can sometimes be used inter-changably, but there are differences.
Who are B-Corps?
There are a number of household names with the B-Lab certification. These include eyewear maker Warby Parker, online crafts marketplace Etsy (that recently went public), Patagonia, Ben and Jerry and many others.
Should You Work There?
B Corps do open up an interesting new set of employers to consider. At the companies with the B Lab certification, there tends to be a significant focus on social good and sustainable programs. Companies like Warby Parker have their one-for-one give back program to give glasses to the underprivileged in developing countries. As more job seekers and professionals look to further bridge their professional careers with the ability to contribute to social and environmental causes, B Corps can provide unique and fulfilling venues to do so. Moreover, its hard to create social change without inspired and motivated employees, and many of these companies pride themselves on great benefits, and a focus on creating and maintaining a positive workforce culture. So using the B Corp certification as a screen can often be a way of finding a happier, more constructive work environment.
This is a great starting point for your diligence as a candidate but should be one of many factors. There are plenty of companies that aren’t B-Corps that create significant social good both in the products and services they deliver and their own focus on charitable giving. While this certification is promising, and at the very least, creates awareness of the higher standard that our corporations should live up to, it is still early days, and this should be one of, but not the only criteria in your job search.