In 2006, the founders of the nonprofit B Lab decided to promote “a new type of corporation which uses the power of business to solve social and environmental problems.” Since then, B Lab has certified 285 companies from 54 industries and 30 US states as B Corporations (short for Benefit Corporations).
According to the B Corp website, B Corporations are unlike traditional responsible businesses because they:
Meet comprehensive and transparent social and environmental performance standards
Institutionalize stakeholder interests
Build collective voice through the power of a unifying brand
The point of B Corp and its rating system is to distinguish between the companies that say they’re doing good things, and the companies that can prove that they are. B Lab embraces corporate values that include the interests of employees, community and the environment.
On April 13th of 2010, the state of Maryland signed the nation’s first Benefit Corporation legislation. This new law gives legal recognition to B Corporations and states that certified companies must prove that they are generating both financial and social benefits by publishing annual reports that comply with recognized third-party standards (such as the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) or B Lab’s B Impact Assessment).
The goal is to create a real capital market for B Corporations, whose missions often do not fit into existing corporate law (which traditionally states that shareholder value is the only king). B Corporations are not only required to generate material positive impacts, but they must also consider employees, the environment and the community in decision-making. Additionally, directors of B Corps are held accountable for the company’s stated sustainability goals.
Ten other states—including Vermont, California, Oregon, Washington and Colorado—are currently considering similar statewide legislation. The next step, according to Andrew Kassoy, Co-founder of B Lab, is to begin providing incentives for business to become B Corporations, such as tax, procurement and investment preferences.
Philadelphia was the first city to offer tax incentives for B Corporations in December 2009. Pennsylvania houses 41 B Corporations to date. Which cities will be next?
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Statement from the most senior decision-maker of the organization about relevance of sustainability to the organization and the organization’s strategy for addressing sustainability
Name of the organization
Primary brands, products, and services
Location of organization’s headquarters
Number of countries where the organization operates, and names of countries with significant operations or that are specifically relevant to the sustainability topics covered in the report
Nature of ownership and legal form
Scale of the reporting organization
Total workforce by employment type, employment contract, and region, broken down by gender
Percentage of total employees covered by collective bargaining agreements
Description of the organization’s supply chain
Significant changes during the reporting period regarding organization's size, structure, ownership, or supply chain
Whether and how the precautionary approach or principle is addressed by the organization
Externally developed economic, environmental, and social charters, principles, or other initiatives to which the organization subscribes or endorses
Memberships in associations and/or national/international advocacy organizations
Entities included in the organization consolidated financial and nonfinancial reports
Process for defining report content
Material aspects identified in the process for defining report content
For each material aspect, the aspect boundary within the organization
For each material aspect, the aspect boundary outside the organization
Explanation of the effect of and reasons for any restatements of information provided in earlier reports
Significant changes from previous reporting periods in the scope and aspect boundaries
List of stakeholder groups engaged by the organization
The basis for identification and selection of stakeholders with whom to engage
The organization’s approach to stakeholder engagement, including frequency of engagement by type and by stakeholder group, and an indication of whether any of the engagement was undertaken specifically as part of the report preparation process
Key topics and concerns that have been raised through stakeholder engagement, and how the organization has responded to those key topics and concerns, including through its reporting. Report the stakeholder groups that raised each of the key topics and concerns
Date of most recent previous report
Contact point for questions regarding the report or its contents
‘In accordance’ option and GRI Content Index
Policy and current practice with regard to seeking external assurance for the report
Governance structure of organization, including committees of the highest governance body
The organization’s values, principles, standards, and norms of behavior such as codes of conduct and codes of ethics
Disclosure on Management Approach for Aspect
Coverage of the organization’s defined benefit plan obligations.
Financial assistance received from government.
Significant indirect economic impacts, including the extent of impacts.
Total number and rates of new employee hires and employee turnover by age group, gender and region.
Average hours of training per year per employee, by gender and by employee category.
Percentage of employees receiving regular performance and career development reviews, by gender and by employee category.