EarthTalk: What Are “B Corporations?”


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Dear EarthTalk: I know what C Corporations, S Corporations and LLCs are, but what are “B Corporations” and how does this status help the environment? —Robert Gendarme, Chicago, IL

C Corporations, S Corporations and LLCs are legal business structures distinguished by how they pay their taxes under U.S. federal income tax law, whereas a B Corporation (or “B Corp,” with the “B” standing for “Benefit”) isn’t actually a legal entity and is still taxed based upon its chosen C, S or LLC structure.

“B-Corp” is a certification awarded by the non-profit B Lab to for-profit companies which meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency. “B Corp is to business what Fair Trade certification is to coffee or USDA Organic certification is to milk,” reports B Lab, which has certified upwards of 2,100 companies from 50 countries and across 130 industries. To qualify as a B Corp, a company must be working primarily to solve an environmental or social issue through its work as a business entity.

B Lab launched in 2006 with the first B Corp certification of 19 companies coming a year later. The non-profit began lobbying efforts across the country in 2008. In 2010 Maryland passed the nation’s first B Corporation Law, followed closely by California in 2011. When Patagonia and 11 other well-known California companies registered as B Corps on the first day possible in January 2012, major national news outlets covered the story, putting the B Corp concept “on the map,” so to speak. And later that year, the movement went global when companies in Africa and Brazil became certified B Corps.

“I think B Corp ... will allow the values of my company to continue, even after it's sold and it’s way down the line and we’re dead,” says Yvon Chouinard, Patagonia’s founder, adding that he compares it to a conservation easement on a piece of property. “It’s a conservation easement on a business.” Besides Patagonia, some of the better-known companies now certified as B Corps include Ben & Jerry’s, Etsy, Warby Parker, Plum Organics, New Belgium Brewery, Stonyfield Farm, King Arthur Flour, Cabot Cheese, Badger and Seventh Generation.

Today 33 U.S. states recognize Benefit Corporation status while six more—Alaska, Georgia, Iowa, Mississippi, New Mexico and Oklahoma—are considering it. Companies that want to pursue B Corp status should check whether it’s recognized in their state by looking it up on benefitcorp.net’s State-by-State Status page. If the answer is yes, the next step is taking B Lab’s “B Impact Assessment,” which assesses the overall impact a company has on its stakeholders, including a heavy emphasis on sustainability and environmental considerations. The assessment takes two to four hours to complete depending on company size, sector and location. Several of the questions concern sustainability issues such as energy efficiency, waste and pollution mitigation efforts. For instance, one of the assessment questions asks: “What percent of energy (relative to company revenues) was saved in the last year for your corporate facilities?”

Companies that qualify must then revise their articles of incorporation so that managers and directors can start factoring in how their decisions affect all stakeholders, not just financial shareholders, while recertification every two years requires that companies maintain that commitment to all stakeholders in order to keep their status.

CONTACT: B Lab, www.bcorporation.net.

EarthTalk® is produced by Roddy Scheer & Doug Moss and is a registered trademark of the nonprofit Earth Action Network. To donate, visit www.earthtalk.org. Send questions to: question@earthtalk.org.

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February 22, 2018

After a hopeful start, a lethargic, laid back ambience colors most of the day. From early morning until evening the Taurus Moon, not noted for speed under the best of circumstances, floats void of course. The disengaged orb slows many things to a crawl…
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February 2018

Spend a cozy winter weekend with colleagues diving into the rich material contained within the Dàodéjīng. While each class builds upon the material covered in the previous...

Cost: $325

Where:
Roots and Wings Yoga and Healing Arts
317 North Main Street
Natick, MA  01760
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Sponsor: Eastern Medicinal Therapies Education Center
Telephone: 617-435-3586
Contact Name: Lauren Paap
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Great readings at a great rate - only $20 for 15 minutes. Join us for a great day with lots of specials too! Our web site is not currently able to take registrations for the psychic fair. Please...

Cost: $20 for a 15 minute reading

Where:
Circles of Wisdom
90 Main Street
Andover, MA  01810
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Sponsor: Circles of Wisdom
Telephone: 978-474-8010
Contact Name: Cathy Kneeland
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Join us for an afternoon of messages from your loved ones on the other side. As an empath and a healer, I am able to connect with random loved ones on the other side and connect them with the right...

Cost: $30 in advance/$35 day of show

Where:
Harvard Unitarian Universalist Church
9 Ayer Road
On The Common
Harvard, MA  01451
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Sponsor: Wachusett Music Series
Telephone: 978-365-2043
Contact Name: Jean or Denise
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February 18 - 23, 2018 With Rev. Michelle Renee Pelletier, founding director of the Center for Psychic Healing, Harwich, MA.

Where:
Calistoga Spa Hot Springs
Calistoga, CA


Sponsor: Center for Psychic Healing
Telephone: 707-849-7793
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Are you curious about yoga but don't know where to begin? The Intro to Yoga Series is a great place to start your practice. This series will provide a safe, non-competitive and welcoming...

Cost: $90 for series

Where:
YogaLife Institute
6 Chestnut St, Suite A
Exeter, NH  03833
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Telephone: 603-969-8968
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Qigong and tai chi are 2500+ year old healing arts originating in China. These moving meditations offer unique health benefits that western medicine is...

Cost: $11-$15 per class

Where:
Chelmsford Wellness Center
3 Littleton Road, 2nd Floor
Westford, MA  01886
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Sponsor: Cultivating Qi
Telephone: 978-856-8118
Contact Name: Dave Crocker
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A guided tour in discovering, confirming and verifying your personality, behaviors and habits. A three part series at the Waltham Public Library Monday, February 5 7:15PM Monday, February 12...

Cost: Free

Where:
Waltham Public Library
735 Main Street
Waltham, MA  02451
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Sponsor: Waltham Public Library
Telephone: 781-314-3429
Contact Name: Louise Goldstein
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February 20 - 22, 2017 Three day training including new techniques for advanced Reiki training, Reiki master training, and Holy Fire II upgrade. Includes discussion, demonstrations, practice...

Cost: $1025 ppd.

Where:
Women of Wisdom
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Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
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Experience the power of singing gospel music with more than 250 others as part of the Mystic Chorale, led by award-winning director and composer, Jonathan Singleton. Join Mystic as we prepare...

Cost: $105

Where:
First Parish Unitarian
630 Mass Ave.
Arlington , MA
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Sponsor: The Mystic Chorale
Telephone: 781-738-1920
Contact Name: Jai Kaur Annamaria
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Qigong and tai chi are 2500+ year old healing arts originating in China. These moving meditations offer unique health benefits that western medicine is integrating into treatment plans. By...

Cost: $12-$17 per class

Where:
Dragonfly Wellness Ceneter
176 Jackson Road
Devens, MA  01434
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Sponsor: Cultivating Qi
Telephone: 978-856-8118
Contact Name: Dave Crocker
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Come by anytime during open shopping hours! Friday, February 23: 3:00 pm - 9:00 pm Saturday, February 24: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm Sunday, February 25: 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm We are very...

Cost: Free to attend

Where:
Circles of Wisdom
90 Main Street
Andover, MA  01810
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Sponsor: Circles of Wisdom
Telephone: 978-474-8010
Contact Name: Cathy Kneeland
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6 Week Series with Sherri Snyder-Roche Start your year with greater awareness. In Kundalini Yoga, we harness the mental, physical, and nervous energies of the body and put them under the...

Cost: $90

Where:
State of Grace Yoga and Wellness Center
104 East Hartford Ave.
Uxbridge, MA  01569
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Telephone: 508-278-2818
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Come by anytime during open shopping hours! Friday, February 23: 3:00 pm - 9:00 pm Saturday, February 24: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm Sunday, February 25: 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm We are very...

Cost: Free to attend

Where:
Circles of Wisdom
90 Main Street
Andover, MA  01810
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Sponsor: Circles of Wisdom
Telephone: 978-474-8010
Contact Name: Cathy Kneeland
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Romy Valdez There are few instruments like the Gong that can heal us through its purification properties of sound vibrations. In this energy field, the beginnings of removing all blocks can...

Cost: $30 early bird ($35 at the door)

Where:
Sohum Yoga and Meditation Studio
30 Lyman Street, Suite 108B
Westborough shopping center
Westborough, MA  01581
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Sponsor: www.SOHUM.org
Telephone: 508-329-3338
Contact Name: Ritu Kapur
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