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‘B’ Corps balance profit with purpose to transform local, global economies

December 1, 2022  |  Jay King, Upstate Business Journal


With generational and societal shifts in attitudes about the responsibility of businesses to be engaged in more than maximizing profit, companies are increasingly organizing themselves as benefits or B corporations to reflect those shifting priorities.

Balancing profit with purpose

What has become a movement took shape in 2006 with the creation of B Lab, a nonprofit dedicated to transforming corporate economics to balance profit with purpose.

Those purposes encompass social and environmental performance, corporate accountability and transparency, worker welfare and customer care.

Benefits corporations seeking coveted B Lab certification go through a rigorous evaluation process that assesses the company’s impact in five key areas:

  • Governance — evaluates a company’s overall mission, engagement around its social/environmental impact, ethics and transparency.
  • Workers — evaluates a company’s contributions to its employees’ financial security, health, safety, wellness, career development, engagement and satisfaction.
  • Community — evaluates a company’s engagement with and impact on the communities in which it operates, hires from, and sources from.
  • Environment — evaluates a company’s overall environmental-management practices as well as its impact on the air, climate, water, land and biodiversity.
  • Customers — evaluates a company’s stewardship of its customers through the quality of its products and services, ethical marketing, data privacy and security, and feedback channels.

In the nearly 20 years since its creation, B Lab and the movement it is working to drive has helped promote codifying benefits corporation structure into law. South Carolina joined a growing number of states in recognizing benefits corporations when it passed the S.C. Benefit Corporation Act in 2012.

Greenville’s Liability Brewing Co. obtained state benefit corporation status in 2021 and achieved B Lab certification in June 2022.

The company scored an 81.3 on its B Corp impact assessment as compared to 50.9 for ordinary businesses. A company must achieve at least an 80 impact assessment to receive B Lab certification.

“When my husband and I founded Liability Brewing Company, we knew a commitment to our employees, the greater community and the environment was a bedrock founding principle of the brewery,” co-founder Kathy Horner said in a release announcing the company’s certification.

Liability Brewing Company is one of 18 U.S. breweries to hold B Lab certification among 5,000 certified B corps worldwide.

For more information on benefits corporations and the certification process, visit bcorporation.net.

 


Find the article at Upstate Business Journal