B Corp – Why Does the Average Person Care?
March 27, 2015
Because it’s a Public Benefit Corporation.
There are many business designations (Inc, LLC, etc) and typically the end consumer and employees don’t much care which letters follow a business name. (As a seasoned business owner I can tell you most of us don’t care either.)
These designations are determined by the businesses accountants and attorneys based on the law and the tax treatment and liabilities involved. Booooooooooooooooring.
But B Corps, Public Benefit Corporations, ARE something for us all to get REALLY excited about.
What is a B Corp?
A Public Benefit Corporation (GBC or SBC) is basically a socially responsible for-profit business. You can read the details of what they have to do to qualify in the links below. But in a nutshell it is a grail shaped beacon for socially conscious consumers. Seeing GBC or SBC in place of “Inc” means “this company values social responsibility and meets clear standards.”
This will be good news for my friend Amy who was actually UNHAPPY that all restaurants now must use compostable to-go boxes because compostable boxes were how she determined who was greener. Don’t worry Amy, one door has closed, but another has opened.
Whether you care about environmental impact, employee treatment, or giving back to the community, when you are supporting a B Corp, you are supporting an organization that cares too. What an easy way to know where to throw your consumer dollars (and let’s face it, it is the most powerful vote we have).
If you see the "B Corp" logo when you're buying products or doing business, it means you're supporting a for-profit company helping society.
B Corp is a brand new designation in Minnesota as of 1/1/15 and we were the 26th state to adopt it. So if your favorite business (or even your state) doesn’t carry the designation, don’t worry. They might qualify and just not even be aware yet. If they had B Corps when I owned Downtown Dogs I would have gone for it for sure. I’m pretty positive we would have qualified. And, for the moment, I find great relief that Ben and Jerry’s and Patagonia have qualified. And my son’s preschool will surely qualify. So basically all my disposable income is accounted for with B Corps.
Watch for it
Though right now, only the most cutting edge, socially responsible consumers and businesses are aware, once it catches on you’ll see them all over. Consumers will be looking for the B Corp sticker on the door. They will be what job seekers look for. So as attorneys and accountants are able, they will go after the designation for their clients. What a lovely snowball to see start rolling.
Go social progress!!
If you want to learn more about B Corps, here are some links: