As Loyal to Local grows, we are committed to staying true to our corporate values of social justice, community empowerment, and economic and environmental sustainability. We live and work by the same principles that help all communities thrive – we choose local and sustainable suppliers whenever possible, we hire local people, and we constantly seek to minimize our environmental impact. To further cement our dedication to these standards, we seek to become a certified B Corporation within the next year.
Our Next Steps
At Loyal to Local, we strive to protect and promote the communities, and planet, in which we live, work, and play. We believe in the standard B Lab has developed for corporate responsibility, and we hope to send a signal to consumers and companies that this is a credible and important effort. As we continue along the path to B Corp certification, we will uphold our commitment to sustainable and green business practices. We will not only work to reduce our carbon footprint wherever possible; we will aim to develop a service that creates jobs, strengthens local communities, and reduces paper waste. We are committed to harnessing the strength of consumers, investors, businesses, and the marketplace to create a socially just and environmentally sustainable society, and to serve as a model for the role businesses can have in this transformation.
“If you can’t be an example of what you want your company to be, I don’t believe your company stands a chance of succeeding in becoming a truly responsible business.”
“You need to be committed to the personal growth, the personal work and the personal change that will unquestionably be required of you to succeed in making these kinds of changes at your business.” – Jeffrey Hollender, Founder of Seventh Generation, a founding B Corp.
What is B Corp Certification?
Short for Benefit Corporation, a B Corp is an organization that has demonstrated a deep commitment to social and environmental goals and has been certified by B Lab, a nonprofit that helps entrepreneurs throughout the globe use their businesses to solve social and environmental problems.
There are currently over 600 Certified B Corporations in industries ranging from green energy and law to retail and consulting. These responsible organizations are leading a global movement to redefine success in business – to measure it in social impact and environmental stewardship, rather than dollars and cents. By choosing to meet higher standards of transparency, accountability, and performance, successful B Corps have shown that social goals do not have to compete with financial ones, and ethics and integrity do not have to take a backseat to profit.
Steps to B Corp Certification
The first step to becoming B Corp certified is to pass B Lab’s B Corp assessment with a score of at least 80 out of 200. The free and confidential assessment includes questions about corporate policies and practices, relating to everything from management and governance to community involvement, evaluation of suppliers, and disposal of hazardous waste. Because the B Impact Assessment asks about what your company has done in the past, it is difficult to answer the questions before your company has begun operating. Therefore, according to B Lab, it makes most sense to become a B Corp after the first 6 months of full operations and revenue generation.
As we build Loyal to Local, we are using the assessment to learn how we can do business in a manner that is socially and environmentally responsible, transparent, and ethical. The assessment available online for free, and it’s a great tool for new businesses, or existing businesses that want to learn how they can become certified or develop social and environmental goals. Once we have established ourselves further as a company, we intend to complete, and hopefully pass, the assessment.
The second step for companies wishing to achieve certification is to include language in their corporate governance documents indicating that, when making a decision on behalf of the company, the B Corp will consider the interests of not only shareholders, but also employees, communities, suppliers, consumers, and the environment. The B Corp Legal Roadmap provides the exact language that must be included depending on the legal structure of the organization. Loyal to Local was formed as a Limited Liability Company in the state of New York on October 1, 2012, and the necessary B-Corp language is included in our corporate governance documents.
After amending the governance document, it may be necessary for companies seeking certification to communicate with key board members, investors, and legal counsel on the implications and benefits of B Corp certification on raising money, selling the business, and directors’ liability. A list of Frequently Asked Questions for Investors and Directors of potential B Corps can be found here.
After certification, a company must obtain board approval of a planned amendment reflecting the B-Corp required language, obtain shareholder approval of this amendment, and, if a corporation, file amended articles with the Secretary of State in the company’s state of incorporation within one year. Once this is finalized, the company must sign the B Corp Declaration of Interdependence and Term Sheet. B Lab will then publicize the company’s new certification and add the B Corp to its growing directory of socially responsible businesses.
Benefits of Certification
In terms of branding, B Corp certification gives organizations the ability to stand with other responsible companies, including Etsy, Patagonia, and King Arthur Flour, and be nationally recognized for their commitment to positive social and environmental values. Upon passing the rigorous assessment, B-Corps often collaborate to raise funds, share sustainability strategies, and recruit for job opportunities. By meeting the B Corp standards, a business makes an investment in the credibility of its brand and becomes a member of a community that consumers and investors want to support. The certification is a positive signal to customers and investors that the company has been independently evaluated and set itself apart for a dedication to corporate responsibility.
According to Jeffrey Hollender, founder of Seventh Generation, a B Corporation that makes environmentally safe cleaning products, certification is necessary to establish standards for corporate responsibility “in a landscape where every company now says they’re a responsible business.” Without the certification, he says, “There’s no way for consumers, investors, and other stakeholders to tell real responsible businesses apart from those businesses that just say they are.”