As more and more entrepreneurs have sought to merge profit-making and social giving, benefit corporations are increasingly gaining in popularity and numbers. A community of over 900 Certified B Corps (aka benefit corporations) have now launched The B the Change campaign—an ongoing, global effort to celebrate and reward people using business as a force for good. Collectively, the B Corp community is reaching out to 20 million friends and followers with an invitation to ask others to join the movement at bthechange.com. The B the Change campaign is the first joint communications effort by the entire B Corp community, which includes well known brands like Ben & Jerry’s, Patagonia, Etsy and Method.
“It’s inspiring to see nearly 1000 companies speaking out with one, unified voice, all in an effort to celebrate and reward people using business as a force for good,” states in a press release, B Lab Co-Founder, Jay Coen Gilbert.
The B the Change campaign is supported by year-long full page ads in Mother Earth News, Mother Earth Living, and Utne Reader, inviting 5 million citizen-readers to Take a Deeper Look into the Products You Buy.
Additionally, 16 B Corps, including Cabot Creamery, Plum Organics and Dogeared, have created special edition products with B the Change-enhanced packaging. These products will be sold online and at retailers including Whole Foods, Target, Wegmans, The Container Store, and Barnes & Noble. Products include food, jewelry, t-shirts, notebooks, personal care items, and home furnishings.
“Through the leadership of these sixteen companies, more people will learn about a better way to do business,” adds Coen Gilbert, “and be invited to join a global movement to redefine success in business.”
Some 700 companies are certified B Corps by the nonprofit organization B Labs. These B Corps come from over 60 industries and 29 countries and have met the most rigorous standards for social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability. Getting certified as a B Corporation by BenefitCorp.net is one way to do it. You can become a benefit corporation by filing the appropriate documents with your state and should not be confused with a 501(c)(3) status—nonprofits don’t have shareholders.
A Benefit Corporation is a new type of corporate entity that twelve states have added to their legal incorporation offerings, with another 18 states and Washington D.C. moving forward to do so. The law requires a benefit corporation to create a general public benefit and to pursue goals beyond raising revenue or creating value for shareholders. A public benefit might be providing products or services to underserved communities, preserving the environment, improving human health conditions, or promoting the arts.