B is for Bundle: A Business Case for B Corps

Sitting at the Champions Retreat in 2022, there was one panel, and one story, that stood out. Pete Whish, Intrepid Travel’s North American Partnerships Manager, told those in attendance that there were 188 different certifications in the travel industry and that they only chose to get one, the B Corp certification. 

Whish went on to explain their rationale, that every other certification was just an element of their business that was already covered by the B Impact Assessment, which is used by companies like Intrepid to certify. In their eyes, there was only one certification worth getting.

Lost? Confused? The travel industry has over 180 sustainability related certifications. Navigating which ones are which requires more than a map and might be why companies like Intrepid Travel went after just one, B Corp. Photo by ArtHouse Studio.

In short, certifying as a B Corp is akin to certifying every element of your business: your product or service, your culture, your environmental efforts, your transparency, your community impact, your commitment to diversity, equity, & inclusion–the B is for Bundle. 

Telling a Better Sustainability Story

But this bundle goes further. It serves as a marketing vessel, to tell all of your stories simultaneously and without noise or confusion. As the B Corp movement grows, awareness grows with it. And in a business environment where every company has realized they have to, at the very least, show a commitment to doing good on all of those elements we mentioned above, it has become increasingly difficult to break through the noise. 

And we hear this quite often. A business owner will tell us that they already do all of these things, so it doesn’t make sense for them to pay for the certification. The very next words out of their mouth are that nobody seems to notice all of the good that they’re doing. 

This is your customer trying to sift through all of the do-good marketing campaigns out there. It’s not that you’re not doing good, it’s that we have no idea how to tell which ones are legit and which ones aren’t. B Corp certification can bundle your messaging and help your brand stand out. Photo by SHVETS production.

But the B in B Corp does just that. It has become the gold standard of corporate social responsibility, of ESG (if we’re still allowed to use that term), and of the future of capitalism, because it does just that–it breaks through the noise and lets customers know that this company means business…as a force for good. 

The B Corp Business Advantage

Think about it from a customer perspective. If the travel industry has 188 different certifications, and other industries have even more, that means that we are counting on our customers to have both an awareness and a positive association with each of those certifications. That’s not likely to happen. And worse yet, a company that is deemed climate friendly, or whose product is all-natural, could be paying the employees that make their product or provide their service less than a living wage. They could have a high carbon footprint. They could be exploiting those further down their supply chain. 

Incorporating your B Corp certification into your storytelling helps customers, employees, and investors know that this company has the gold standard of corporate social responsibility certifications. Photo Credit: B Lab US & Canada.

Nothing ends the conversation, and the doubting questions, like the B Corp certification. It bundles the good you’re doing in all aspects of your business. Prospective employees, customers, and investors might not know all that goes into it, but more and more of them recognize the certification for what it stands for–and the rigor that it requires. 

If you’re doing good and not sure why you’re not getting the recognition you deserve, look at some of the B Corps in your industry and you might just find out why. 

If you’re interested in learning more about the B Impact Assessment, telling a better story, or anything in between, please don’t hesitate to reach out.