B Corporations, also known as Benefit Corporations, are a new type of business entity that prioritises social and environmental responsibility alongside profit. First conceived in 2006, these companies – today circa 200 in Italy – operate with the belief that businesses can be a force for good and can play a significant role in addressing social and environmental issues.
Unlike traditional corporations, B Corps are required to meet high standards of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability.
What’s more, one of the key features of B Corps is their commitment to creating positive impact for stakeholders. This includes not only shareholders but also employees, customers, suppliers, and the community at large. For this very reason, B Corps are required to consider the impact of their decisions on all stakeholders, rather than just focusing on maximizing shareholder value.
To become a B Corp, companies must undergo a rigorous certification process. This involves completing a detailed assessment of their social and environmental performance, as well as of their governance practices. The assessment is conducted by the nonprofit B Lab, which sets the standards for B Corp certification. One of the key benefits of becoming a B Corporation is that it allows companies to align their goals with their values. This can lead to increased customer loyalty and satisfaction, as well as attracting and retaining top talent who are drawn to companies that are making a positive impact.
Once certified, B Corps are required to maintain their high standards of performance and report regularly on their progress in order to keep their status: in fact, they are required to re-certify every three years. This accountability helps ensure that B Corps continue to operate in a socially and environmentally responsible manner.
For this reason and considered the increased attention the environment has been given, the B Corp movement has gained significant momentum in recent years, with over 6000 companies worldwide achieving certification. This includes well-known brands such as Patagonia, Ben & Jerry’s, and Etsy.
By prioritizing social and environmental responsibility alongside profit, B Corps offer a model for businesses that want to make a positive impact on the world. With their commitment to transparency and accountability, B Corps provide consumers with a way to support companies that align with their values.
In the final analysis, B Corporations are a new type of business entity that prioritise social and environmental responsibility. Through their commitment to creating positive impact and their rigorous certification process, they offer a compelling alternative to traditional corporations.
By Martina Passacantando