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Corporate Responsibility: How To Publicize B-Corp Certification?
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Corporate Responsibility: How To Publicize B-Corp Certification? - Executive Leadership Articles

Corporate Responsibility: How To Publicize B-Corp Certification?

Executive Leadership Articles

Corporate Responsibility: How To Publicize B-Corp Certification?

The certifying body called B Laboratories did not invent corporate social responsibility; it merely standardized one concept of what CSR might look like. Companies who have long been serious about CSR may have their own ideas that don’t quite line up with the B Lab standard, and there’s a lot of room for this kind of thinking. Other companies are concerned that B Lab certifications lack a certain humility many firms value. The old saying is that the left hand should not know what the right hand is doing in matters of charity, and they prefer to keep their community outreach on the down-low, partially so their motivations remain pure.

It’s an understandable position, but keeping a company’s community contributions quiet also means the opportunity to inspire others to do likewise is lost. There is something to be said for letting others know what you’re up to, as long as it’s not boastful and if it gives others the idea to do something as well.

We thought we’d take a look at how some B Corps publically share their certified status, on their most public of communications: their websites. While communication from companies to clientele may be more involved on other other platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, those tend to have already-sympathetic audiences, so the message may be different. We were more interested in how the firms communicate their social responsibility to anonymous drop-ins on the websites, so we looked at one long-established, high-profile B Corps (Etsy) and several lower-profile, recently certified B Corps just to get a sense of what they’re putting out there.

Etsy made its initial public stock offering two years ago, making it one of the few publicly traded B Corps. It earned its B Corps certification in 2012, explaining in a blog post that year, “We believe that business has a higher social purpose beyond simply profit. The B Corp assessment gives us a framework to measure Etsy’s success against rigorous values and responsible practices as we scale as a company … We believe that the best long-term stewards of Internet-based networks and marketplaces will focus on value creation for all participants instead of solely on shareholders.” There is no mention on the main website of B Corps, although the website’s About page says, “Our mission is to reimagine commerce in ways that build a more fulfilling and lasting world, and we're committed to using the power of business to strengthen communities and empower people.”

Taste Creative, an Australian content creator and production company, earned its B Lab certification in May 2017. It displays the “Certified B Corporation” logo in the upper-right corner of its main page, and says, “We have a passion for inclusion and diversity and we believe that all industries should be accessible to those who want the chance to be included. So we support our sister company, Bus Stop Films, to provide professional creative opportunities for people with a disability.” Elsewhere, on its Story page: “Today, we continue our mission to make the world a better place and advocate for human rights through storytelling by creating content for organisations of all sizes.”

City First Bank in Washington, D.C. received its B Corp certification in April 2017, and while the website is covered with social responsibility ideas and ideals, there is no mention of being a B Corporation anywhere. The logo doesn’t appear on the website, and there seems to have been no public announcement of the community development-focused bank’s certification anywhere, despite its very high score of 147. The highest score possible in a B Lab assessment is 200, with a score of 80 qualifying for certification. Yet the website makes it clear that “Your money works for you and your community—While your money grows, so does your community. Your deposit will support our mission lending activities. In 2011, over 90% of our loans qualified as community development loans and our portfolio will always be comprised of at least 85% community development loans.”

Racio is a Denver-based manufacturer of smart sprinkler systems, claiming to be the first smart home company to earn B Corp certification, making the announcement in April 2017. There’s no mention elsewhere on the website of its status, but the blog post explains how “empowering homeowners to water more efficiently, Rachio joins a growing collection of more than 2,000 B Corp companies using business as a force for good. B Corporation awards certification to companies that use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems.”

Every company must draw its own line between humble service to its people, planet, and profit, and its desire to share with others how they and others can make a difference beyond dollar signs. How they approach their own CSR even in cooperation with a cerfitying body such as B Labs is worth examining as customers become more aware of CSR and the consumer’s role in it.

Reference Links:
Taste Creative: http://www.tastecreative.com
Etsy: https://blog.etsy.com/news/2012/etsy-joins-the-b-corporation-movement/
City First Bank: https://www.cityfirstbank.com/node/98
Rachio: http://blog.rachio.com/2017/04/rachio-leads-smart-home-industry-first-earn-b-corp-certification/


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Corporate Responsibility: How To Publicize B-Corp Certification? - Executive Leadership Articles

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