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  • Writer's pictureEmma Gillies

B Corps explained

Updated: Mar 6


Since the 1970s, the “maximize shareholder value” mentality has been evolving into a new outlook—one that emphasizes the value of stakeholders, including investors, customers, employees, and even local communities. As a result, corporate governance is slowly shifting away from the notion that businesses exist purely to gain profit, and business models are starting to integrate social and environmental concerns. In line with this trend, B Corporations are popping up as an alternative to business as usual. Today, there are over 3,000 B Corporations—which are certified by the non-profit organization B Lab—in 71 countries around the world.


B Corporations hope to build an inclusive economic system where the competition is not being the best in the world but rather being the best for the world. Essentially, B Corps are hoping to redefine the economy so that businesses don’t base success purely off profit, to the detriment of other businesses, people, and the environment.


B Corporations make up what’s call the B Economy, in which all participating businesses are legally required to consider the impacts that their decisions and products have on people, communities, and the natural environment. A B Impact Assessment measures this impact. In the B Economy, it’s not just the businesses that matter: it’s everyone who is involved in the process, including employees, customers, investors, and other supporting businesses or organizations.


In a world plagued by social inequalities and environmental degradation, the B Corps community is trying to be a catalyst for change. This means taking diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) seriously, reducing products’ negative environmental impact, and empowering communities. While most B Corps are small to medium-sized companies, there are also large multinationals in the mix, too. For example, Patagonia donates 1% of its total annual sales revenue to grassroots environmental organizations and has on-site child daycare for its employees, while Ben and Jerry’s uses Fair Trade ingredients and engages in community-based development projects. Meanwhile, mattress company Leesa donates one mattress for every ten it sells, and Frank and Oak makes its winter boots from coffee waste and recycled rubber.


So how does a company become a B Corporation? Well, first off, the company leaders must truly be committed to using business as a force for good and have specific social and environmental goals in mind. In addition, all B Corporations are for-profit, meaning they want to make money while using their business for good—non-profits and organizations that receive funding from governments or charities are not eligible for certification. The second step is taking the B Corp assessment to uncover the company’s performance as a social enterprise and find out if it’s eligible for certification. Finally, if the company wants to formally become a B Corp after completing the assessment, it must change its article of incorporation to include specific commitments to a broader societal purpose.


After submitting assessment results to B Lab, staff examine the assessment, ask for supporting documents, and even arrange site visits. And once a company has been certified, it needs to continuously monitor its performance and get recertified every two years.


As a pending B Corporation, Whale Seeker is committed to the highest standard of both environmental and social performance. We are dedicated to understanding and protecting the environment, but we also care deeply about the communities that we work with, local businesses around us, the wellbeing of our employees, and the ethics of our technology. We believe that society’s most pressing social and environmental problems cannot be solved by government initiatives and non-profits alone; they require the commitment of the business community, too.

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