This article originally appeared on the Huffington Post August 16, 2016.
Reprinted with permission.
My father has always been an innovator and an entrepreneur, my mother a powerhouse who knows how to get things done. Together, they have been the driving force behind Badger, a small mission-driven business founded in 1995 that strives to create healing products, run a healthy business, and make a positive difference in the world. Today, Badger has over 100 employees and our products are sold in 20 countries. We are a manufacturer of natural and organic skin care products, but the products we make tell only part of our story. At our core, we are a mission-driven business and our mission in its simplest form is “healing products, healthy business, make a difference”. As our company continues to grow, and the world around us changes, our values are the one aspect of our business that we want to remain unchanged.
About 6 years ago, Badger reached a critical point in our business trajectory. We had about 50 employees. We were still operating out of an old, retrofitted garage and farmhouse. And we were on the verge of explosive growth. In fact, we were starting to see consistent double-digit growth. Clearly, it was time to break ground on a new manufacturing facility. And yet, despite all the success, and the obvious need to upgrade our cramped quarters, we felt some trepidation and had a lot of questions. What would happen to our intimate community of co-workers when we hired new employees? What would happen to our mission as we rapidly expanded operations? Until this point, our mission had lived in individuals and in our close-knit family. What we needed was a blueprint to help us transition our values into the DNA of our business. It was at this critical point that we discovered the small but growing movement of certified B Corps and quickly realized that the B Corp certification was a tool that we could use to build our mission into the operations of our business, helping us to stay true to our roots even as we entered a period of rapid transformation.
B Corps are businesses that strive to balance profits with a social or environmental mission. While mission-driven businesses are certainly not new, the certification helps to provide a common language and a set of best practices that businesses can use to benchmark and improve upon their social or environmental initiatives. As a community of businesses, our goal is to create a new sector of the economy in which business strive to be best for the world rather than being simply best in the world.
To qualify as a B Corp, businesses must measure their social and environmental impact using an impact assessment tool created by B Lab, the non-profit organization that certifies B Corporations. This rigorous process ensures that a company’s policies and procedures are documented and can be audited. All certified B Corps are also required to post their scores online (called a B Impact Report) with the goal of full transparency in their business practices.
B Corp values, such as being a force for good and an agent of positive change in the world, have always been part of Badger’s vision and mission. But becoming a certified B Corp in 2011 meant that we now had a verifiable way of demonstrating our commitment to always doing what’s right for people and the planet.
Today, we are proud to be part of a global community of 1700+ certified B Corps using business as a force for good. We are also proud of taking our commitment to do good in the world a step further by helping to pass Benefit Corporation Legislation in NH, and then becoming one of the first NH businesses to register as a Benefit Corporation.
The future is bright for B Corps and the B Corp movement, and we look forward to continuing on this path toward improving our business practices and deepening our mission through all that we do.
The B Corp Life is a new blog series geared towards exploring what it’s like to work at a benefit corporation. Why do b corps matter, and what does the future hold for them? Let us know at PurposePlusProfit@huffingtonpost.com or by tweeting with #TheBCorpLife.