As communities and activists around the world attempt to deal with the immense cost of the climate crisis from unprecedented flooding in Pakistan to the longest recorded heat wave in China to wildfires and the new “smoke season” in the American West, questions arise regarding how much individuals can effect change when what is needed is immense system change.
At Fair Planet Advisors, we believe B Lab and B Corp certification, and the Green Business Network at Green America certification, provide models that can not only create global system change but also allow each of us to “vote with our dollars” and to be a part of the system change that these times demand.
What Are Certifications and Why Do They Matter?
B Corp certification is a vigorous certification process verifying that businesses consider all stakeholders. This stands in contrast to the “Profit is King” approach, focusing on short-term profits for shareholders only. The Green Business Network certification, the first of its kind, ensures that businesses integrate social and environmental criteria into their operations and further prove that business innovation can serves people, the planet, and promote broad-based prosperity.
In the 1970’s Milton Friedman who has been referred to as “the most influential economist” of the 2nd half of the last century promoted the idea that “the sole purpose of a firm is to make money for its shareholders.” US and global financial systems have been reflective of that thought process for the past decades. But sustainable business certifications have been part of a changing tide. In fact, in August of 2019 the Business Roundtable, a lobbying group composed of leading CEOs in the US, released an updated Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation that expressed a fundamental commitment to all stakeholders, including customers, employees, suppliers, communities, and shareholders.
Meet the B-Corp and Green Business Network Certifications
Fair Planet Advisors has earned both B-Corp and Green Business Network certification, a reflection of our commitment to putting into practice a new approach to business. As a socially responsible investment firm, we help our clients invest their assets to meet their financial goals in ways that match their values and their aspirations for society and the environment. This year we were thrilled to receive a Best for the World (BFTW) Award from B-Corp in recognition of our work with customers, regardless of portfolio size, that is helping to create a new system.
B Lab has highlighted the stories of some of the BFTW companies globally:
Green Hammer Design Build of Portland Oregon is pursuing carbon neutrality, reduction in predicted energy use intensity across its buildings, 90% waste diversion for its projects including training on this for employees, and even Justice, Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity Training to pursue addressing historic injustices in housing.
New Age Industries, of Pennsylvania, fluid transfer specialists, became a 100% employee owned company in 2019 and is a resource and advocate for other companies considering employee ownership. Workers also have access to a discretionary bonus, tuition reimbursement, and paid volunteer time.
Organic India a provider of teas, supplements and more, shares resources, industry insights, and best practices for transparent supply chains, economic opportunity, and income stability for India farmers.
And certified Green Business Network members are also making a difference every day to improve outcomes for communities and our endangered environmental heritage:
Emma’s Eco-Clean, a woman-owned Bay Area cleaning cooperative, uses non-toxic cleaning supplies to protect the health of their employees and customers. The company grew out of a nonprofit founded by two women who were cleaning houses and not happy with the poor benefits house cleaners received. So, they decided to teach Latina women how to legally open a cooperative.
Canaan Palestine is making olive oil using organic and regenerative agricultural practices and promoting fair trade to support small farmers.
Big Bad Woof merges green living and green pet care, including attention to climate impacts, product transparency, fair labor conditions, and support for locally-made products.
In short, the B Corp community and Green Business Network believe that all stakeholders matter. While no company is perfect, businesses with these certifications are striving to improve their business model for the sake of all their stakeholders with the belief that a new system is not only necessary but that is one we can create together.