What are B Corps?
March is B Corp Month! As a B Corp since 2014, Fireclay Tile is proud of the work we’ve done to earn such certification and proud of the impacts that work has already made. To learn about the journey we’ve taken to become a Certified B Corp and why it’s one that other companies ought to take as well, check out this blog post from our CEO Eric Edelson.
But what is a Benefit Corporation? How do you get certified and why does it matter? We’re here to quickly break it down for you with the full story. Let’s get started!
B Lab was created by three college friends, Jay Coen Gilbert, Bart Houlahan, and Andrew Kassoy who all attended Stanford University together. Fifteen years after graduation, after each spent careers in banking and business, they reunited to develop the B Lab, recognizing that in order for the culture of business to change, there needed to be legally binding avenues for mission-driven companies to compete with profit maximalists.
The trio developed the B Corp Certification, a legally binding framework that formally certifies mission-based companies, similar to how the Agricultural Services Certified Organic (ASCO) certifies products as USDA Organic.
To qualify, a company must take the B Impact Assessment, a rigorous look at a company’s impact on its workers, customers, community, and environment. It’s designed to separate the brands that market responsibility from the companies who actually do.
After certification, B Corporations must then amend their legal governing documents to require their board of directors to balance profit and purpose and publish their B Impact Report for the public to judge.
There are over 3,500 Certified B Corporations in 70 countries around the world. 35 US states, plus Washington DC, now have statutes allowing for legally recognized “benefit corporations,” as do Italy and Colombia. There are B Corps trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
Where do we stack up? With a B Score of 115.4, Fireclay Tile ranks among the top 10% of Certified B Corps, putting us in good company with the likes of Patagonia and Ben and Jerry’s. We’re the first B Corp Certified Tile company in the world and we’re just getting started!
For us, the reason why is simple. It’s the right thing to do.
According to B Lab, Certified B Corps are companies “that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.”
B Corps seek to address social and ecological challenges like income inequality and climate change by both considering their industrial effects on communities and ecosystems and going further, harnessing their business as a force for improving the conditions of their community and environment.
We all share this world and we need to act with that basic notion in business as well.
How do B Corps make a difference? Across the globe, the conscious choices made by beneficial business leaders are creating new standards that we hope will help transform our global economy for the better. But more immediately, the actions of B Corps are already making a direct impact on people’s lives and futures.
Here are some of the ways we’re using business as a force for good.
- 75% of our waste is diverted from landfills
- 100% of our factory electricity is renewable
- 80% of our products are made from recycled material
- 100% of our carbon emissions are offset
- 1% of all Brick sales go to the National Parks Conservation Association
- 12 weeks paid maternity leave and 4 weeks paid paternity leave
- 30% employee-owned with all employees owning equity in Fireclay Tile
- 85% of health insurance premiums covered for our employees
- $220,000 granted in no-interest loans to our employees
- 67% of our leadership is led by women
Being a B Corp has its traditional benefits as well. A Nielsen study found that the sales of consumer goods with a demonstrated commitment to sustainability have grown 4 times faster than those without. It’s a sign that there’s growing market demand for goods with value and values. It’s a sign that the project three friends from Stanford set out to start is working.
How much impact we accomplish is up to us as we continue to raise the standards for ourselves and our corporate community. For as excellent as B Lab is at measuring business as a force for good, there’s much that must be felt, in the relationships with our colleagues and environment and the gratification of working with purpose.
We’re honored to be a B Corp!