B Corp certification helps consumers, workers, and investors to identify and support businesses that are operating responsibly, and provides companies with a clear set of standards and criteria they can use to measure, track, improve, and communicate the innovative and effective ways in which they are doing so.
Historically, Connecticut has a strong sense of civic and environmental responsibility, as indicated by having among the highest concentrations of nonprofit organizations in the country, and yet as of 2017 — only three companies had earned their B Corp certification. Owner, Jen Gorin, transitioned from a career as a consultant and investment banker to found Impact Growth Partners (IGP) and work to increase the number of businesses in her home state that practiced the “triple bottom line.” Her company focuses primarily on helping Connecticut-based (and global) businesses work efficiently through the B Corp Certification process yo measure, improve, and communicate their social and environmental impact.
Today, the number of businesses with B Corp certification in Connecticut has more than doubled, and the original three have been joined by Bigelow Tea, Worthy Company, Envest Asset Management and IGP.
How do you make the business case for B Corp Certification (or explain the value proposition) to your customers, partners, and other stakeholders?
Research has long proven the bottom-line benefits and increased business resiliency resulting from measuring and improving social and environmental impacts. Clients also come to us with specific reasons for seeking certification, which range from marketing and communications to increased employee engagement, and effective leadership changes to creating community. Our job at IGP is to discover what purpose drives the companies we work with, and to make sure that purpose is expressed in as many operational ways as possible.
What does the process involve?
At IGP we use the B Lab’s main auditing tool, the B Impact Assessment, to help companies measure their impact against global standards, and make improvements. The kinds of social/environmental operational structures and improvements we help companies measure and improve vary, but some include creating close relationships with suppliers, a strongly defined purpose that helps guide decision-making, powerful worker policies like flexible working hours or benefits for part-time workers, tracking energy/water/waste over time, or customer relations that generate loyalty.
Why should companies seek B Corp certification?
Certification provides companies with an opportunity to communicate and make visible their commitment to a purpose, and improving their social an environmental impact. While the motivations for becoming a purpose-driven enterprise may vary, as do companies’ operational expressions of that purpose, the results for their bottom lines, their workers, suppliers, customers, and the environment in which they work, are significant and meaningful.
In Connecticut, we have met one of our original goals which was to strengthen the state’s B Corp community. In Connecticut, in the two years we have been operational, we have helped two companies gain B Corp Certification, three more are in various stages of completing their certification, and we have achieved B Corp certification ourselves. We are hopeful that many, many more business in the state will follow. For more information about how to use your company as a force for good, email firstname.lastname@example.org