The Benefit Corporation

by Bart Beck.  


If you’re the type of consumer that takes interest in the types of companies and producers you purchase from, you may 1-for-planethave come across markings for such things as 1% for the Planet, bluesign® certified, and the Access Fund, all geared at creating a more eco-friendly product. For-profit corporations often take part in programs such as these because they believe it is the right thing to do and, let’s face it, for the positive image it provides. Some of these for-profit corporations have even made such social and environmental activities a priority right up there with their profit margins. When a company takes these steps (and more) to make global- and environmental-conscious decisions a primary focus in their business plan, they may become eligible for being registered as a Benefit Corporation.

The legal goal of a for-profit corporation was to make money; however, some companies and non-profits are beginning fairtradeto create other obligations for businesses through becoming a B-Corporation. Currently, multiple states throughout the United States have passed legislation recognizing and protecting corporations that believe profits are not their sole responsibility as a business. In general, these laws help add extra protection of the leaders of a corporation when they choose to pursue goals other than profit and while being more open about their business practices; basically a reward for doing more than just caring about profits. Although this legal classification greatly helps improve a company’s image, it actually does not require them to take certain actions. However, a non-profit known as B-Lab is looking to change that.

To become a certified B-Corporation, a company must meet certain standards for social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency set by B-Lab. This is similar to the ways in which Organic, Fair Trade, and bluesign® certified products must meet a third party’s standards to be labeled as such products. When you see that a company such as Ben and Jerry’s or Patagonia is a certified B-Corporation, you will know that the company’s leaders are taking social and environmental considerations, along with profits, into account when they are making their daily business decisions. The companies are actually being proactive here; it’s not just for show.

States and non-profits continue to work on legislation while more businesses take the steps to become certified B-Corporations. Our home state of Pennsylvania has passed legislation in regards to B-Corporations and is also the home of B-Lab.

Here at Appalachian Outdoors, we are proud to offer many products from certified B-Corporations. These include W.S. Badger Co, OluKai, Dansko, Klean Kanteen, Patagonia, Oliberté, and Chico Bags. Patagonia has been certified since 2011 while OluKai just became certified in 2014. Hopefully, as more companies become certified, we will have the opportunity to bring you even more products from certified B-Corporations.

If you would like to check out more information on B-Corporations or would like to check out a company’s B Impact Report, take a look at Remember, part of being certified is being transparent, but it takes a consumer looking into the company for that transparency to matter.

B-Corp Brands Sold At Appalachian Outdoors: 

patagonia     olukaikleankanteen

badgerdansko  oliberte

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  1. Pingback: /Explore | Get to Know a Vendor: Patagonia

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