B Corp Certification: The Future of Social Responsibility in Business

Category: Business planning Entrepreneurship

Social responsibility: we’ve all heard the term, but what does it really mean? And better yet, how can it be quantified in the business world?

Local businesses like mine – Peace Power – have an answer, and it’s one that small business owners in Alberta need to know.

Peace Power is a Canadian-owned and operated electricity, natural gas, & green energy provider based out of Edmonton, AB. While there’s no shortage of energy providers in Alberta, there is one characteristic in particular that makes Peace Power stand out from the rest: our status as a certified B Corp.

What is a B Corp?

B Corp certification means a business has met or exceeded high standards of social responsibility. In other words, it designates a company that is transparent in its operations, and has committed to social responsibility and positive action. B Corp businesses are mindful of their roles in the community, their impacts on the environment, and their responsibility to all stakeholders – not just financial shareholders, but employees, suppliers, consumers, and the local economy and environment.

B Corp certification is awarded by a non-profit organization known as B Lab. It’s a relatively easy process to apply – particularly for businesses already taking positive action in one or more of the five aspects of B Corp social responsibility (including the environment and the community). The application process itself is enlightening for companies looking to improve their social responsibility, and even streamline or restructure their operations for better overall impact. Once you’ve taken a solid 360-degree view of your business and how it’s impacting the community as a whole, it’s easier to take simple steps that can make a big difference.

So why do companies get certified as B Corps? For our business, it’s more than just a designation to put on a brochure. The certification has improved our operations, and makes us more conscious of all aspects of our business. More than that, it gives our clients and consumers a well-built bridge of trust; they benefit from the peace of mind of knowing they’re supporting socially conscious businesses, with positive impacts both locally and internationally. As the world becomes more and more globalized, and awareness of social issues spreads, consumers are doing their research, and certifications like this streamline that process for them.

Is social responsibility really important for businesses?

While two decades ago there was very little focus on social responsibility in the business world, the last few years have seen it become far more than a passing trend for consumers. Just like Fair Trade coffee and Certified Organic produce and dairy, consumers want to know that the companies they are sourcing products and services from are doing their part. They want to ensure these organizations are accountable not only to their financial statements and shareholders, but to everyone who has a stake in the business: this includes employees, partners, suppliers, the community, and every other living thing the business touches. B Corp registration also shows that a company is not only financially viable, but socially viable, which is crucial for longevity.

How can I learn more?

B Corp certification is a relatively new concept, particularly in Edmonton, but we at Peace Power expect that as more businesses see its value, it will become as universal as similar socially conscious designations. Chandos Construction is another Edmonton-based company that saw the value of the certification, and there’s a rapidly growing interest in the global community.

If you want to learn more about the benefits of B Corp certification, or find out how your business can apply, give me a call at 780-668-9493 or email me at chad.mielke@peacepower.ca. I would be more than happy to answer your questions and direct you to resources you can use to get certified. Or, you can also visit the B Lab website to find B Corp Certified Businesses and learn more.  

 

Ready to get started on your own business?

If you are looking for one-on-one support for your small business, give the Business Link Business Advisors a call at 1-800-272-9675 or email askus@businesslink.ca. You can also visit the events and webinars pages for upcoming activities!

About the Author

Chad Mielke

Founder & CEO, Peace Power

Chad Mielke is the owner of Peace Power Corporation, a certified B Corporation and energy marketer/broker of electricity, natural gas, and green energy products throughout the province of Alberta. He is an active member of the Edmonton and area business community including BNI, CCI, and the Edmonton and St. Albert Chambers of Commerce.