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What are the B corporations?

The new change-makers in the business world focusing on the environment and social problems

What are the B corporations? The new change-makers in the business world focusing on the environment and social problems

The increasing number of companies adopting a new business paradigm with a strong focus on environmental and social standards confirms that there is more than just profit. They are called B-Corporations, "companies for benefit", and there are more than 2,000 worldwide working in hundreds of different sectors. They are not "no-profit", but just companies that voluntarily assume the obligation to act transparently, pursuing, alongside economic-financial objectives, a positive impact on society, people and nature. 

How do you get B-Corp certification? Qualification requires high-quality standards. The certification process costs an annual fee, with prices depending on the country. The first step is to measure your company's performance by filling the B Impact Assessment. You have to reach at least 80 out of 200 points, then B Lab will check the accuracy of the measurement. The third and final step is to sign the Declaration of Interdependence of the B Corp.

The movement behind these "change-makers" began in 2010 in the United States, but Italy was one of the first countries to support this positive transformation, introducing the equivalent legal form of a Società Benefit in January 2016:

"Companies that in the exercise of an economic activity, in addition to the purpose of sharing profits, pursue one or more goals of common benefit and operate in a responsible, sustainable and transparent way with respect to people, communities, territories and environment, cultural and social assets and activities, institutions and associations and other stakeholders."

These companies share the same objectives as B Corp certified companies, but have to act in accordance with specific legal requirements. The Italian law requires the respect of the targets (which must be included in the corporate purpose), an annual report to be attached to the budget and published on the company's website. Finally, the results obtained must be communicated. The Antitrust Authority will supervise the correct process.

B Corp's are growing every day in every sector. In fact, they are not only companies that make eco-friendly products or services, but they can belong to any type of business from hi-tech to clothing, from financial services to food. Globally, those certified are more than a thousand and include Kickstarter, Hootsuite, the e-commerce platform Etsy, the Californian brand Patagonia, the multi-national Danone. One of the last to be added to the list is Burton, the first snowboard company to earn Socially Responsible Business Recognition and now also a Certified B Corporation. A long-standing sustainability leader in the outdoor and winter sports industry, the brand has been committed over the years to supporting numerous issues: from protecting the environment and mountains with the Protect Our Winters association to the recent website shutdown to participate in the Global Climate Strikes.

Donna Carpenter, Co-CEO of the brand, explains enthusiastically the new adventure:

“Burton has always stood for more than snowboarding. Our values around community, sustainability and women’s equity are as much a part of our identity as pioneering the sport. Now more than ever, companies need to step up and speak up on issues that impact the world we all share. So we’re all very proud to join the B Corp community, which shares our commitment to balancing purpose with profit.”

To learn more about the Burton Sustainability Goals, visit the official website.