Choosing a Better Company

 

Guest post by Andy Fyfe, B Labs

In southeast Costa Rica, just south of Puerto Viejo, there’s a farm named Punta Mona. To find it, you hike along a rugged path through an oceanside jungle. Upon arrival you hear the waves crashing up on the shore, music in the background and a communal kitchen built in the center. Young permaculture enthusiasts scatter around, occasionally seeking each other, flipping compost, building pathways, planting seeds, stripping cinnamon. Two years ago, I worked on this farm and found community of many walks of life all joining on the same path; a path toward sustainable living.

Since returning from backpacking over a year ago I found my place at the Hub in San Francisco. The opportunity stumbled upon me and it could not have been a more ideal time. At the Hub a community of changemakers was being created and I was graced to be their host. With a boiling pot of enthusiasm but no direction at all, I was thrilled to hear of all the innovation, see the collaboration, and witness their impact in the first few months of Hub SoMa’s creation. I thought back to when I was walking away from yoga at Punta Mona and through the gardens to the ocean, I came to terms that I’d never find myself in an office again.  Although as I write I sit in our B Lab office at the Hub, I am surrounded by world navigators who have developed their inspiring stories into positive impact enterprises.
You see, in University I became skeptic of businesses’ efforts to help humanity and our planet. I considered it all green-washing. I wanted empowerment in their beneficiaries and enlightenment in their affluent consumers. I wanted there to be a way for us as consumers, as business owners, as investors to know exactly the impact a company is having on our environment, society, and its employees. Then less than a year ago, I was offered to do community development at B Lab.
B Lab, a third party non-profit certifies B Corporations the same way Transfair certifies Fair Trade coffee or USGBC certifies green buildings. Certified B Corporations are a new type of corporation which uses the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. They work to create greater economic opportunity, strengthen local communities and preserve our environment. Through a company’s B Impact Assessment, anyone can access performance data about the social and environmental practices that stand behind their products. By doing so, good companies can shine brighter and clearer than just good marketing. Working for the Hub and then B Lab (Biz Dev located at the Hub in SF) I have come full circle to learn the need for B Corporations. Young entrepreneurs with unparalleled creativity, passion, and perseverance will be the wave of the future. Now with a new sector of the economy being paved by B Corporations, success is not solely defined by maximization of profits but rather making a profit while also making sense.
Better World Books is a prime example of a successful yet philanthropic company. Through its unique story and wide impact, Better World Books is a company that amplifies the voice for change in corporate responsibility. On behalf of B Lab, thank you for doing what you’re doing. And to your shoppers: thank you for choosing a better company.
How do you choose the companies you shop with? Are you a conscious consumer?

 

*Note* The below blog post is a guest blog from our friend Andy at B Lab. This content does not necessarily reflect the views of Better World Books (as our lawyers make sure we say). We love having guest bloggers and invite you to email 11@betterworldbooks.com if you are interested in covering a book or topic on the BWB Blog. Thank you, Andy!

 

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