While traveling extensively to advise mission-driven businesses and organizations, Becky Asselin and Avery Osborn witnessed, time after time, the power of business to help address weighty social & environmental problems. Soon after, the two women headed to Austin, Texas for the summer to test a business idea: social enterprise consulting.
During their research in Austin, they walked from food truck to food truck, asking the owners about their passions and how they incorporate their mission into business. For the most part, answers were spirited, yet hesitancy always seemed to slip in. The owners would often indicate that they care about sustainability, but that they just did not have the time to research ethical alternatives that are financially comparable––from sourcing ingredients to purchasing cutlery to designing employee benefits––the story was often half-enthused.
That’s where Becky and Avery decided to step in. They had the goal to make social and environmental sustainability more achievable and cost-effective for these business owners.
B Lab is a private, non-profit organization that has come up with its own, more specific certification criteria for companies wishing to do good in the world. To be awarded the B Corp stamp of approval a company must receive a minimum score of 80 on a scale of 200 points, on an impact assessment designed by B Lab as an objective and uniform measure of a company’s social and environmental impact. Criteria include policies that benefit employee wellness, sustainable environmental practices, and transparency to stakeholders.
Following the impact assessment is a multi-step verification process that includes a review of the company’s impact score, background checks, and for those randomly selected, a site review. B Lab is trying to change the way the world does business; it is a self-proclaimed global movement. As of August 2018, B Corps exist in 60 different countries, and there are over 2,600 of them. These include a few you may have heard of: Ben & Jerry’s, Warby Parker, and Patagonia are just a few examples.
It is not surprising that B Corps and benefit corporations are often confused or thought to be synonymous, and the two are not competitive — given the overlap in objectives, many certified B Corps are also registered benefit corporations in the United States. Still, with its stricter requirements and more rigorous certification process, in addition to its non-government presence worldwide, it’s safe to say B Lab has earned greater consumer respect. Here to raise awareness about B Corp certification are Everoot founders Becky Asselin and Avery Osborn. Their non-profit organization, Everoot, is a consultancy for companies small or big hoping to achieve B Corp certification.
The founders walk business owners through the B Corp Certification process, identify improvement areas and develop programs specific to each company. Implementing programs are key to improving a business’ certification score. Many of these internal changes not only make a more positive impact, but they can actually save the business money. It’s a common misconception that B Corp doesn’t respect the bottom line when in most cases, the steps taken to certify actually increase profits.
Becky and Avery are aiming to make certification more accessible to businesses who don’t feel like they have the ability to become a B Corp. “Many businesses have heard of B Corp, but assume it’ll take them more time, money and resources than they can afford,” Becky said. It can be a long and demanding process, but Everoot steps in to take the stress out of it.
These women were able to combine their personal missions with their creative skills into a single entity that will keep giving back. To date, they have seen dozens of local businesses aim to clean up our oceans, improve the quality of life for their employees and give back to the local community. “We love working with passionate business owners and are excited to build a wider community of purpose-driven leaders to share ideas, get inspired and make more positive change together,” Avery said.