B a more responsible business

26 May 2015

The B Corp has released its annual listing of the most responsible businesses in the world. Read on to hear how the 2015 Best for the World honourees are implementing changes that make them responsible businesses.

The 2015 Best for the World List shines a light on 120 global companies. These companies are recognised from 1,200 organisations that are Certified B Corporations, meaning their company’s performance across governance, customers, workers, environment and community has been independently verified and they meet at least the minimum scores.  The first step in this process is to take the B Corp Impact Assessment, which is free and gives you scores across all of those areas. B Corp has launched in Australia and New Zealand, and is active in 41 other countries.  

Among the Best for the World list are well known brands such as Patagonia and Ben and Jerry’s, as well as smaller, innovative companies like Canada’s Oliberte, a leather goods company which sources materials from parts of Africa to create job opportunities; Echale a Tu Casa, a Mexican social housing production company; and the Beneficial State Bank, a community development financial institution based in California.

Taking the highest score in the 2015 Best for the World honourees was Massachusetts-based South Mountain Company, an employee-owned design and renewable energy company which builds housing and electricity infrastructure for its community that lives on-site. It also claimed the top ranking for the employees sections, with 100 per cent of employees reimbursed for continuing education, a living wage paid to all employees and all employees’ individual or family health insurance premiums covered.

The best score in the community section was awarded to Buy The Change, based out of Michigan in the United States. The organisation provides a platform for women artisans from poorer countries to sell their wares in the American marketplace. The company supports the Buy the Change Foundation, providing grants to artisan partners, giving preference to sustainable or fair trade supplies. Buy The Change also donates 10 per cent of sales to charities, supports staff to take time off for community services and spends 60 per cent of profits on local suppliers.

The top scoring environment honouree was North Carolina’s Piedmont Biofuels. The company collects waste fats, oils and grease and turns them into biodiesel.  

The B Corporation certification is being used internationally to benefit businesses in multiple ways.  Not only is it becoming recognised by consumers as a holistic certification standard, the assessment criteria is also being used as a procurement standard to assess suppliers. Investors are using it to provide them with non-financial company performance data and many B Corps use the global network to create up- and down-stream supply chain relationships with like-minded businesses. 

If you want to see how you stack up internationally, you can take the B Impact Assessement for free here. To go on to become a certified B Corp there are costs associated. 

The Sustainable Business Network wants to see at least one New Zealand company on the list in 2016 and we’d love to know how we can help you to get there.  Contact us if you’re interested in taking a leading role for New Zealand.