Providing our members with sustainable work opportunities with good pay and benefits has been our goal since we became a worker cooperative. Our cooperative values also demand that we pursue that goal is ways that make a positive impact on communities, and we would also like to benefit the environment and society as a whole.
We became a Certified B Corporation® as a way of holding ourselves accountable. Maintaining B Corp™ status requires us to measure our impact across five areas, meet a minimum standard, and see how we compare to companies of similar size.
We have always cared about these things. Choosing certification means that we now have an obligation to assess how we are doing and publish the results. We believe that cooperatives are better suited to doing good in the world than businesses driven by a profit motive, and most of the businesses against which we are ranked are not cooperatives, so we expect to be leaders in measurable positive impact. If we aren't, that's a sign for us that something we are doing needs to change.
The B Corp™ program was designed so that companies could make themselves legally obligated to consider community, social, and environmental impacts in addition to profit potential. Without such requirements, the laws in many states obligate directors and managers to focus solely on profit, so this is a welcome change to what has shown itself over time to be a destructive status quo.
Like B Corporations, cooperatives are expected to care about communities as part of their core values. Cooperatives are also democratically managed by their members and allocate their net income on the basis of patronage. B Corporations do not necessarily share these traits, although they can have them. Similarly, cooperative values don't explicitly require consideration of impact on the environment or society as a whole, which a B Corp must consider. Because there is no conflict between cooperative values and B Corp requirements, an organization can choose to be both, as we have done.
B Corporation® vs Benefit Corporation
Some states allow the formation of benefit corporations, which often get confused with Certified B Corporations®. B Corp™ certification is open to any business that meets the standards of an independent assessment. In contrast, the the benefit corporation is a distinct legal structure whose impact is self-reported, and the Delaware benefit corporation statute does not require that the results be made public.