Liability Brewing Co. strives to be a ‘force for good’ as a certified B Corp.
March 31, 2023 | Megan Fitzgerald, Upstate Business Journal
When Kathy Horner and her husband, Terry, began building their business plan for Liability Brewing Co. in 2017, they did so with the idea that one day they might become a certified B Lab corporation.
Six years later, the company holds this distinction.
A certified B corporation balances profit with purpose while performing to meet the highest standard of social and environmental impact.
“We have a passion for building and running a business in a way that is what B Lab calls a ‘force for good’,” said Kathy Horner, general manager of Liability Brewing Co. “We want to do more than just cash a check at the end of the day. We want to make sure our employees are well taken care of. We want to be a part of our community. We want to make sure we are not taking more from the environment than we should. So to us, getting the certification is a stamp that says, ‘Yes, you are meeting those goals.’”
Companies seeking certification from B Lab, a nonprofit established in 2006, must undergo the lengthy B Corp. impact assessment. The process evaluates the company’s impact performance in governance, worker support, community engagement, environmental management and customer stewardship.
A company can earn 200 points through the assessment but must achieve a minimum of 80 to get the certification. Horner says when Liability Brewing Co. was first evaluated in 2019, they started with only 40 points.
“(That) is very common,” Horner said. “COVID-19 put a little hiccup in the whole process, but we spent the next six to eight months just going through the assessment and going ‘OK, what do we need to do to gain some of these points?’”
Ranging from simple to complex, modifications the company made to improve its impact score included creating an employee handbook, tracking water and power usage, and explaining how the company’s brewing equipment helps save water.
Horner said the company is happy with its sustainability efforts to decrease its environmental impact and its initiatives to support employees, specifically through offering livable wages, insurance and professional-growth opportunities.
After resubmitting Liability Brewing Co. for evaluation in September 2021, Horner said it took until May 2022 to finish the process and earn the B Corp. certification with a final score of 81.3. The company also obtained benefit corporation status for South Carolina in 2021.
An ongoing process“(Certification is) not a one-and-done thing,” Horner explains.
Along with submitting annual reports each April, Liability Brewing Co. must re-certify every three years to keep its B Corp. status. B Lab is also currently updating its assessment and adding five additional standards that organizations must be evaluated on, Horner says.
With the brewery scheduled to go through re-certification in 2025, the company’s owners are already looking toward the future.
“Our next steps are just understanding what the new certification looks like,” Horner said. “How do we fit into that? What do we need to work on and improve?”
Other certified B corporations in the Upstate include Brains on Fire Inc. and GreenHer Earth
Find the article at Upstate Business Journal