B Corp Certificate

The fashion industry faces many challenges in terms of sustainability and social responsibility. B Corp assessments provide a way for companies in this industry to evaluate and improve their impact on the environment and society, and for consumers to get guidance. We first came across the certification when we took a closer look at MUD Jeans.

B Corp Assessments are comprehensive assessments of companies that evaluate their performance in terms of social and environmental responsibility, transparency and governance. Companies that receive B Corp certification have demonstrated a commitment to minimising their impact on the environment and society and to effecting positive change, known as Benefit Corporations.

In the fashion sector, many companies have begun to recognise the importance of sustainability and social responsibility. Some of the leading companies in this industry that have achieved B Corp certification are Patagonia, Eileen Fisher and Reformation.

The B Corp Assessment is an assessment conducted by B Lab, an independent non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting sustainable business practices. The assessment covers a wide range of criteria, including environmental impact, working conditions, community responsibility and transparency.

Companies that pass the B Corp Assessment are eligible for B Corp certification. This certification is a signal to consumers and investors that the company is committed to sustainability and social responsibility and is committed to having a positive impact on society and the environment.

B Corp certification is not a one-time process, but requires continuous improvement in the company’s performance. Companies must undergo re-certification every two years to ensure they continue to meet high standards of social and environmental responsibility.

The B Corp Assessment includes more than 200 criteria divided into five categories:

  1. governance: the governance category refers to the way a company is managed and how decisions are made. It covers topics such as business ethics, transparency, employee participation and accountability.
  2. employees: The employees category refers to the working conditions in the company. It includes topics such as job security, fair pay, equal opportunities, employee development and participation.
  3. environment: The environment category refers to a company’s impact on the environment. It includes issues such as energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, water use, waste management, sustainable materials and environmental innovation.
  4. customers: The customers category refers to a company’s relationship with its customers. It includes issues such as product safety, product quality, customer support and social impact of products.
  5. community: The community category refers to a company’s relationship with society. It includes topics such as local sourcing, community involvement, social impact and philanthropy.

The criteria for the B Corp Assessment are very demanding and require a thorough evaluation and review of a company’s business practices. Companies must achieve a certain score. Overall, the B Corp Assessment is a comprehensive tool that helps companies improve their business practices and engage in sustainability and social responsibility.

A critical aspect of the measurement tool is that it is a self-assessment by the companies, which can lead to an overestimation of the positive impact. In addition, it lacks standardisation and therefore offers a lot of room for interpretation. Furthermore, the assessment costs a lot and especially smaller companies often cannot afford it.

Despite these criticisms, B Corp Assessment has helped to emphasise the importance of sustainability and social responsibility in business and has raised awareness that companies should not only make profits but should also consider their impact on the environment and society.

So the B Corp certificate could help you identify brands that are trying to increase their positive impacts and decrease the negative ones.

Sources:

https://www.bcorporation.net/en-us/find-a-b-corp/

https://www.sustainablejungle.com/certifications/b-corp-greenwashing/

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Photo from David Marcu at Unsplash