A new type of corporation is on the rise, and it's called BCorp. Both a signifier (in the style of Fair Trade) and an actual legal structure, BCorps are growing in a number of states that mandate that a company has to act not only behalf of its shareholders but also on behalf of the environment, its people and the world at large. Bcorp is a proclamation and symbol that you, as a company, have committed to doing good in the world.
Beyond basic altruism, there are a number of reasons as to why a company would go through the rigorous application process in order to become an official B Corp. These include the ability to attract and retain mission-driven talent, to signify and attract investors that are mission-aligned and to access the community of 1000+ like minded business that have also been certified by B Corporation.
However, there is another, often overlooked, benefit to going through the application process for Bcorp status. This benefit is that it helps founders clarify their vision and understand their purpose, which in turn helps them set their internal culture and solidify their external brand as a company.
Bcorp is many ways is a path to corporate self-knowledge. The importance of self knowledge and self-reflection is clear when we consider our own personal journey in navigating our career paths, but often when we apply these same principals to a business the process becomes dominated by a vague mission statement exercise that would never pass in our own lives.
During the Bcorp certification process you are forced to answer questions and solidify your company values and ways of operating in a much deeper, richer way. The process of asking these specific questions often happens at some point in a company’s lifecycle, but going through it early on, before founders are dealing with outside pressures from investors, helps a company get the right people on board, when it matters most.
As a result of this early company-driven self-reflection, Bcorps are better situated to ride out the ups and downs and growth curves of start up culture and more likely to be driven by what they believe instead of solely what they want to achieve. This distinction creates more long-lasting and sustaining value for employees, investors and entrepreneurs themselves. It is one more reason, no longer hidden, for companies to consider getting certified.