Podcast Episodes
What the Heck is a B Corp?

Jason Owens, Founder of Renewable Confidence

Non-profits bring about a lot of positive change across the nation, but what if you flip that coin to think about for-profit companies?  What comes to mind?


Not much good, right?  Corporate greed.  Layoffs.  Corruption.  Fat paychecks going to CEOs.

Lately, however, there has been a movement to change this negative connotation.  

In this episode, we discuss how socially aware companies are taking not just the bottom line, but the triple bottom line into account where profit matters just as much as planet and people.

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Jason: (00:00)
Broadcasting from a small mountain town high in the Colorado Rockies. This is the Renewable Confidence Podcast — the show that helps you build confidence in yourself and in your business every day.

Jason: (00:15)
My name is Jason Owens. I am thrilled to be with you here today. Thanks so much for joining me. Today’s episode is titled, what the heck is a B Corp? All right, sit back, relax guys. Here we go. So the struggle that I’ve had for quite some time is, gosh, do I want to be a nonprofit company, right? Do I want to start a nonprofit and go that direction or do I want to be a for profit company? And it really felt like I didn’t have any good choices between the two. Now if you look at some of the big guys out there, like Tom shoes or whatnot, you have, I have companies out there that are really trying to be a force for good, right? So they’re out there and whether they’re for profit or nonprofit, they are really trying to go out there and solve some kind of of issue in the world.

Jason: (01:02)
So I think Toms, for example, whenever you buy a pair of shoes for them, they donate a pair of shoes to somebody in need, right? So I mean, that’s, that’s great, right? I mean, who, who would not want to be part of that? Right? So not only is that just a good and being a good corporate citizen, but to be very candid with you, it’s also a smart business, right? Because I’m talking about Toms right now, only because I’ve heard other people talking about Toms and I’ve seen articles written about the company, right? So that, that mantra of theirs, so giving back, I mean it’s, it’s really, it’s a big deal, right? And it works and it solves a problem that’s out there in the world. So there are many companies out there that are really sitting back and trying to evaluate, Hey, how can we, how can we really not just be the, the company that goes out and pilferage or, or is it only for the profit only for the money?

Jason: (01:56)
How can we be a company that takes a very, very long term look at our effect on the world, right? Oh cow, can we be a company that takes a very longterm look at our effect on the planet, the people who work for us, right? Our suppliers. Um, how can we really just be a little bit more socially conscious? And I’ll tell you what, that has really resonated with me. Um, way back when I was in school working on a doctorate degree a while ago, I learned about this concept called a triple bottom line. Okay. And there’s a lot of really powerful movement, least, uh, or even in the academic world and studies and whatnot about all this great stuff that’s going on in regards to, Hey, it’s not all about the money. Right? After all, when you’re in business, especially in say, business school kind of business one Oh one, uh, what is the sole purpose of a corporation?

Jason: (02:48)
Sole purpose of a corporation is to maximize profits for the shareholders. Right? Well, that notion, which has been very solidified in the business world for, well, a hundred years now, it’s really starting to come under fire really, because of course people are sitting back and saying, Hey, wow, okay, I get it. But wow, look at what we’re doing to the planet. Look at what we’re doing to the people who work here inside these four walls of our company, right? No one wants to work at a meat grinder, right? I mean, the money might be good, but you’ll last three years in you’re toast. Okay. Isn’t there a more sane way to do this? Well, people are stepping back and going, yeah, yeah. There is a more sane way to do this. So one thing that I’ve stumbled across lately is caught a B corporation and that’s just let her be, and then the word corporation now do not get this confused with a C Corp. Right?

Jason: (03:39)
Which is more of a tax designation. No, this, this is not, uh, not in lines with IRS guidelines or anything. It’s completely different. It’s called a B corporation. And really what this means is the legal structure of the company. The, the legal definition of this company is not to maximize shareholder value. The legal definition is that, Hey, we have to take into account what is our effect on our people. What is our effect on our shareholders? What is our effect on the planet? What is the, what is our effect on our suppliers? I mean, it is a very well rounded look. And I tell you what, I have been really blown away by what I’ve learned about this community, this group of people, this group of companies that have come together and become B corporations. Now there’s a place out here that will certify you and your business to become a B Corp and it is a nonprofit.

Jason: (04:32)
In fact, I’m just gonna go ahead and pull it up here. Now you want to go to B corporation.net and for those of you who want to pop back to the show notes, um, you’ll go ahead and look at the show notes for the show. And you’ll see, I’ll go ahead and put that link down there in the bottom B corporation.net and right now, as I’m scrolling through their homepage, if you scroll down quite a bit on the homepage, so it’s probably about maybe 80% of the way to the bottom. Um, there’s a, an article that they’ve linked to from Harvard business review and it says why companies are becoming B corpse. So that might be worth digging into as well. And again, I’ll put that in in the show notes. Well, let me tell you what is really interesting about this. Way back in the day there was a, you guys may have even for those of you who’ve been around long enough, you will remember the name ISO.

Jason: (05:18)
Well, there was a standards group out there that would certify your business to be an ISO 9,000 corporation, right? Or an ISO 9,000 site. Okay. And that meant that you had all the policies and procedures and all kinds of basically good management policies and procedures turned on inside of your company. And that was to make sure that your company was well run. Okay. On the inside, a B corporation is kinda like that in that there is a certification and there’s a process that you go through to basically be able to say, Hey, I am a B Corp. Hey, I belong with other, really big like, like Patagonia. Right? So I belong with these companies. In fact, I’m, I’m carrying the weight. So I mean if you look through, I’m just looking at some of the names here. There’s clean canteen, that’s a good one. Stony field, organic HootSweet for those of you who are in the social media world, uh, looking at Ben and Jerry’s, right?

Jason: (06:15)
And there are are just tons of other companies. It looks like there’s over 3000 companies right now that are certified as B Corp. and really what you’re doing is there, you’re just, you’re making the statement that yap profit is important but Hey, we’re going to balance our purpose against that profit as well. Right? So I mean what’s been really fun for me is that there is a self assessment that you can run through. So if you’re really serious here about uh, going through the process of becoming a B Corp, you can go through the self assessment that you can link to from their website here and it walks you through, I mean this took me a while. I mean you are not just going to burn through this and in 15 minutes this really is going to make you think. And if you’ve never done any kind of a business assessment like this before, um, trust me, these guys get underneath the hood of the business and a very, very real hard and fast way.

Jason: (07:11)
Um, so I went through it myself and I’m really digging into, all right, how do I want to treat my employees? And I mean they have all kinds of questions. Uh, what is your policy on this? What is your policy on that? How many, how much of your business, what percentage of your suppliers are local to you? Right? What percentage of your money goes to helping the environment, right? If you, what is your relationship, uh, who is your, your nonprofit partner, right? Uh, so they have, you kind of think through, gosh, I, I, yeah, I would like to donate some money, but I don’t really, I haven’t chosen a nonprofit partner. Well, they make you kind of go through and think through that. It’s been a really, really, really intriguing process to go through. And it took me, I don’t know, I want to say it probably took me in total probably a couple hours, maybe closer to three a chunk through it.

Jason: (08:03)
They’re a little bit here, a little bit there over the course of about three or four days. And um, managed to nail it. But I tell you what, they really bring up some good stuff for you too. Consider with your company right now where it is and where do you want to go in the future, right? I mean they really make you sit back and think about, Hey, where, what kind of environmental impact am I having right now? Um, one of the offshoots of this, you guys may remember that there was a podcast that I created called carbon offsets for a small business, right? Question Mark at the end. Uh, go back and check out that episode because that, the reason I bought carbon offsets from my business was an offshoot of going through this B Corp certification, right? So I realized that as I’m going through this self-assessment, gosh, I can’t really check that box on the assessment unless I go out, go to a company that I bought my carbon offsets from.

Jason: (08:58)
Right? So go check the show notes for that. Go over there and do their calculator, come up with the amount of carbon emissions that my business has and then come back, you know, by the carbon offsets. Then come back over here to the self-assessment. Check the box. Yes, I have done this right. So I’ll tell you what it’s just been, if you want to be a very well governed company and you have never really been through this idea of a well rounded look at your company, that self-assessment does a great job of doing it. So again, that is B Corp net. It is an entire community of people who are dedicated to balancing their business purpose with their business profit. And I just encourage you to go over there and check that out. So what I’m doing here, I’ve gone through the self assessment, uh, with the company and I am really considering, Hey, can I do this?

Jason: (09:53)
Can I pull this off because it’s, it’s, it’s a lot and it’s a lot for a smaller size company. I mean sure if you are a larger company and you might have the resources and the teams that you can put together to go tackle this, it’s probably a lot easier. And I’m considering myself, Hey, what are the benefits of me going through it? So I’m giving this a try. Come with me. You want to join me on this? Just come with me and let’s try to get this figured out and we’ll get it figured out together. All right, everyone can’t wait for the next episode. You guys take care and I’ll talk to you soon. Bye. Bye.

Posted on Thursday, Nov 07

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