Certifications are hard work. There is a lengthy and rigorous process of checks, balances, and audits to obtain and maintain them. We believe it’s worth it in order to give you the peace of mind you deserve when buying our products. As mentioned in our last blog post, we use certifications to take the guesswork out of our ingredient claims of “organic,” “natural,” and “fair trade.” But what about the harder-to-prove claims like “we are a good company”? How do you know for certain that Badger treats its employees fairly, supports the local community, and is doing all the good we say we’re doing?
This is where the B Corporation certification comes in. You may have noticed that over the last few years we’ve added a B Corporation logo to our products and on our website. It’s that letter B in the center of a circle with the words “Certified B Corporation.” What does it mean for you? In celebration of our third re-certification, and recent B-stowed “Best for the Environment” award, we thought we’d take a moment to explain what it is and why Badger continues to re-certify. Hopefully, we’ll also inspire you to seek out and support other B Corporations.
B Corporation Basics
The “B” in B Corporation stands for “Benefit.” It’s a standard that measures not just the fairness of our ingredients but also our business practices, assigning us a score based on how we treat the environment, our workers, customers, community and how the business itself is governed. In short, this little B Corporation logo tells you in an instant that we truly do all of the good stuff that we say we do.
Like any reputable certification, B Corporation also relies on auditing (to make sure we are actually doing what we say we are) and re-certification (to make sure we are still doing what we said we were), which means that every 2 years Badger must go through a process of re-certification. First we prove that we’re still upholding the practices we initially certified with, then we show how we have continued to improve our practices as we grow the company.
You might be thinking this is probably easy for Badger since our mission and principles are based around fairness and kindness. However, the first time we completed the B Impact Assessment, we realized that while we did a lot of good things, they were not written as policy. So actually, completing the assessment was really difficult because we had to provide documentation to prove that we were doing all this good stuff! It was a learning process for us and it uncovered another benefit to the B Corporation certification: we can measure what we’re doing, and then make measurable improvements.
You Can’t Manage What You Can’t Measure
When asked about the process, our director of administration Emily Hall-Warren said, “Badger has always had strong values that focus on sustainable business practices. The B Corp movement, however, provides a new level of accountability and transparency. We’re able to use their tools to prove that our practices are sustainable. What’s more, the movement also allows us to learn from other like-minded organizations about best practices and areas in which Badger could and should be improving.”
B Lab, the non-profit that certifies Benefit Corporations, has created the B Impact Assessment which is a tool that businesses can use to measure their impact on the environment, employees, community, and governance. In addition to measuring your current practices, it also gives examples of best practices from other B Corps.
That culture of collaboration and improvement is what really sets the B Corporation certification apart from others. Instead of looking at business through a competitive lens, it promotes working together to make businesses better for the benefit of all involved. Badger approaches our B Corporation re-certification as an opportunity for continuous improvement.
Highlight Reel: 2013 to 2015
We’re thrilled to announce that we just re-certified as a B Corporation and our new score increased by 16 points, jumping from 122 to 138! This may not seem like a big improvement until you consider that the median score of all companies completing the assessment is 80, and the maximum score a business can receive is 200.
Three factors contributed to Badger’s score increase. First and foremost was the adoption of the B Corporation legal status at the beginning of 2015. New Hampshire became the 27th state to allow businesses to register as a B Corporation, and Badger was one of the first adopters. This new law creates the legal framework for mission-driven companies, like Badger, to incorporate their commitment to bettering their communities and the environment as a part of their business model.
Second was our use of fair trade and small-scale suppliers, which falls under the “community” section of the assessment. This evaluates the relationship we have with our suppliers and whether we are helping to solve social issues such as health and education. Working with small-scale suppliers ensures our supply chain is short. Shorter supply chains are good, because eliminating unnecessary middlemen means that more money goes to the people who grow and process the ingredients. It also gives farmers and cooperatives more control over their pricing and revenue; helping them to improve the quality of life for themselves, their families, and their communities.
Third was our documentation of water usage in our manufacturing processes. This falls under the “environment” section of the assessment. We can now verify that water used during manufacturing returns to the water table at the same quality diverted. Of course, Badger has always been mindful about our impact on our local environment but now we can prove it. Moreover, considering that the Badger facility is located in Gilsum, which is in the Connecticut River watershed and drained by the Ashuelot River, this is especially important. The water here is really great, and we intend to keep it that way!
And we’re extra proud to be recognized by B Lab as “Best for the Environment” as a result of our score! This is the second time we’ve received this award and while we don’t base our practices on rewards, it sure is nice to be recognized for hard work.
Benefit for Everyone
We’re really proud of our re-certification and increased score. But one of the coolest things about the B Corporation movement is that Badger is not alone. At current count, there are 1,237 certified B Corporations in 38 countries – and that number will likely have gone up before the posting of this article! That’s 1,200+ businesses that voluntarily make all of their business practices transparent. And it’s not just smaller companies like Badger – you can count Ben & Jerry’s, Etsy, Patagonia, Seventh Generation, Warby Parker, King Arthur Flour, and Honest Company among certified B Corps. Browse around the B Corporation community and check out their impact assessments (just like the one in this article). Every certified B Corporation has one.
So what does all this mean for you? If you prefer to use your purchasing dollars to make a difference in the world, then look for the Certified B Corporation logo on the products you buy. It’s a quick way to tell the difference between good companies and good marketing.
We’re pretty sure that this isn’t the last you’ll hear of this movement.
Who are some of your favorite B Corporations? Share with the community in the comments below!