What Is A B Corp And Why Do I Care

Business as usual hasn’t worked for a very long time, if it ever truly worked at all. Business as usual has seen people and the planet exploited and exhausted for the sake of someone else’s idea of a better bottom line. Sell more, buy more, make it available for instant delivery with the drive-by convenience of Amazon Prime. Work more, stress more, make yourself available for instant utilization as a cog in a capitalist culture. Try to incorporate some counterbalancing efforts of so-called self-care in order to sustain another day of sell more, buy more. Certified B Corporations have boldly been rejecting the business-as-usual status quo since 2007. And now more than ever, we hope the world finally wakes up and pays attention.

What Is A B Corp?

Certified B Corporations factor in the wide-ranging effects of how business is conducted. It is the only certification that considers a company’s entire business model and holds them to the highest levels of accountability and public transparency in order to balance profit with purpose. It evaluates how a business affects its workers, community, environment, and customers. In a Certified B Corporation, we are all considered stakeholders, including the natural world that we live in. “Society’s most challenging problems cannot be solved by government and non-profits alone. By harnessing the power of business, B Corps use profits and growth as a means to a greater end: positive impact for their employees, communities, and the environment. The B Corp community works toward reduced inequality, lower levels of poverty, a healthier environment, stronger communities, and the creation of more high quality jobs with dignity and purpose. B Corps form a community of leaders and drive a global movement of people using business as a force for good.” (quoted from https://bcorporation.net/)

Sounds pretty great, right? IT IS. There are now over 3,200 Certified B Corporations worldwide. Companies from small start-ups to large corporations are all focused on intentionally building their businesses to bust the buy more/sell more status quo and instead to be more/do more. This isn’t about wrapping up a widget inside a brown paper package and slapping a feel-good label on it. B Corps must go through a rigorous recertification process every 3 years, a thorough assessment of supply chain, manufacturing, workplace environment, distribution, and community. GladRags was one of the first businesses in Oregon to receive this certification. Here’s what being a B Corp looks like to us:

🩸We offer a product that replaces single-use disposables with reusables. Essentially this means we’re in the business of going out of business, because ultimate success would mean that everyone who menstruates has all the safe, reusable period products that they need for their lifetime. Dream big or go home, right?

🩸We work with a Portland-based, woman-owned sewing partner, Spooltown. Each GladRags cloth pad supports our local community by keeping essential manufacturing jobs close to home. Our finished goods are then delivered to our office by bicycle with B-Line Urban Delivery. If we could deliver all our customer orders all over the world via bicycle, we would! For the orders that we do ship out, they are all packaged in recycled, recyclable, or biodegradable/compostable materials. And who knows, maybe long-haul bicycle delivery will emerge in the post-pandemic era. Are your legs feeling strong, B-Line riders?

Thanks for the delivery, B-Line!

🩸We work with other B Corp partners every chance we get, like Scout Books, who recently printed our updated edition of “Passage: A Guide To Periods”. And we are thrilled to now be able to find GladRags products on the shelves of ALL New Seasons Markets, which is the first ever Certified B Corp grocery store.

🩸 There’s more. Loads more. Our nonprofit partners. Our ongoing efforts at diversity, equity, and inclusivity. Our active involvement in our community. We could talk about using business as a force for good until you’ve long grown tired of hearing about it, which isn’t yet, right? Right! Onward then!

Why Do I Care?

I’m going to speak from personal experience (hi, Kelli here). I first learned about B Corporations in 2007, when they were just coming about, and I had the good fortune to be employed by one of the very first CPG (consumer packaged good) companies to received B Corp Certification. Why did I care? Because I knew that my employers weren’t simply trying to turn a profit, they were trying to change the game of what it means to do business. I wasn’t a cog in a machine, I was a player in the game. I had a voice. My family mattered, not just my labor hours. The environment mattered, not just the recycling bin. Self-care wasn’t something I needed to work into my life in order to counterbalance the self-destruction of day-to-day capitalism, it was built in to the business model with flexible hours, onsite childcare, and proactive wellness initiatives like yoga and meditation. By working for a B Corp I was actively advocating for a bottom line that included the health and well-being of people and the planet, both of which have been side-stepped, stepped-over, or stepped ON in the last hundred years or more of “business as usual”.

When you see the Certified B Corp logo it’s not a mere marketing ploy, it’s an invitation to be an advocate, an opportunity to vote with your wallet. Whenever and wherever you can support a Certified B Corporation you become a player in the game, too.

Business as usual is over. It has to be. The current global crisis has revealed an urgent and undeniable requirement to re-set our thinking, and build something better, together. Let’s let business as unusual begin. And commit to making a shift toward embracing these core values of The B Corp Declaration of Interdependence:

  • That we must be the change we seek in the world.
  • That all business ought to be conducted as if people and place mattered.
  • That, through their products, practices, and profits, businesses should aspire to do no harm and benefit all.
  • To do so requires that we act with the understanding that we are each dependent upon another and thus responsible for each other and future generations.