by Andrew Kassoy Green business and CSR (#SmartCSR) are fast becoming buzzwords in the business world. Greater awareness of the importance of socially and environmentally responsible businesses is undeniable progress. However, it is becoming increasingly difficult to differentiate between good businesses and just good marketing. This is where certifications that look at the entire company, not just a product, come in.

Certified B Corporations are a new type of corporation which uses the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. B Corps meet rigorous, independent social and environmental performance standards and are certified by B Lab, a nonprofit organization. To be certified, B Corporations take and pass the B Impact Ratings System, which examines a company’s cumulative impact on all its stakeholders. The B Impact Rating System has been taken by over 5,000 companies and is customized, depending on type and size of company.  B Corporations must score at least an 80 and make their results transparent (each B Corporation’s B Impact Report is available online). B Corporations also adopt the B Corporation Legal Framework to integrate the mission of the company into its legal DNA, setting higher standards of accountability.

These standards of performance, accountability and transparency set B Corps apart. Data shows B Corps are effectively creating a greater, positive impact. B Corporations perform 25% better than Other Sustainable Businesses on the B Impact Rating System. When scores are broken down by impact area, B Corporations maintain their lead, scoring 7% higher on employee impact, 19% higher on consumer impact, 5% higher on environmental impact and 10% higher in accountability. Little data is available on how ordinary businesses stack up. However, research suggests that few even measure impact, let alone use a common yardstick.

Consumers are demanding a new way of doing business. Research conducted by branding firm BBMG found 73% of conscious consumers consider both product and company claims when making a purchase. However, almost no one (<1%) trusts company advertisements and statements on packaging. Consumers are much more likely to trust third parties or themselves. People are hungry for independently certified companies having a positive impact. B Corporations fill this need.

To ensure positive momentum forward, we must identify and support those walking the walk. With higher standards of performance, accountability and transparency, B Corporation Certification does just that. The market has never been so ready for triple bottom line businesses. The time for action is now.

To learn more about B Corporations or take the free B Impact Assessment, visit bcorporation.net