Tag Archives: B Corp certification

We’re #1! Westport Leads State In B Corp Certification

It’s finally March.

Which means one thing: Get ready to celebrate B Corp Month!

If you don’t know what “B Corp” is: Join the club.

Start with the circled “B” that you may have seen (or overlooked) while shopping at Athleta, Patagonia or Eileen Fisher, or on Horizon Milk, Cabot cheese and Seventh Generation cleaning products (among others).

It’s a recognition of meeting rigorous social and environmental standards administered by the non-profit B Lab. Since 2006, over 6,000 companies have been certified worldwide.

Why is this “06880”-worthy? Because Westport has more B Corp-certified businesses (per capita) than any other town in Connecticut.

In 2019 Impact Growth Partners — a boutique consulting firm on Post Road East — hosted an event at Patagonia Westport to raise awareness of B Corp certification.

At the time, there were only 3 certified B Corps in Connecticut (none in Westport). Just 4 years later, there are nearly 30 B Corps in the state — including 6 right here.

IGP helps companies achieve B Corp certification. They’ve worked with Westport Family Dental and the recruiting firm FoundHer on their certifications.

Other companies, including Earth Animal, Kane Footwear (the shoe manufacturer headquartered on Post Road West) and Grounded World, a local marketing firm, learned about certification independently.

Companies pursue certification for many reasons: raising visibility, measurement and metrics; establishing impact goals, and joining a community of like-minded leaders.

“We are called Earth Animal for a reason,” the Post Road East store says.

“As such, it is imperative to do our part in improving quality of life for all Earth’s animals, and the planet that sustains us.

“Being a Certified B Corp means that we back up our words with actions, our impact is positive and intentional, and we operate as a force for good in all that we do.

“Now that we’ve achieved this status, all of us at Earth Animal have an obligation and are dedicated to meeting rising standards for social and environmental impact. Through our commitment to use 1% of our annual net sales, we will continue to invest in a more sustainable future for all Earth’s animals, fund initiatives to improve our positive impact, and donate to mission-driven organizations that need it most.”

A dental practice may not seem like a “corporation,” or an entity concerned about the environment.

However, founder Dr. Rebekah Browder says, “I knew I wanted my values to guide my business practices, and that led me to B Corp certification.

Westport Family Dental smiles at its B Corp certification.

“It became a blueprint to create an ideal dental practice — one in which my employees take pride, one that limits its impact on the environment, and one where my patients know that their copays not only cover excellent care, they’re also helping charities near and far. We have dedicated 2% of our revenue to non-profits.

“B Corp has helped us find success but, more importantly, fulfillment. We are happy to go to work each day and our patients can feel that.”

FoundHer founders Jasmine Silver and Runa Knapp had another reason for pursuing B Corp certification.

“We seek to be part of the solution to combat the discrimination that women, including mothers, often face when returning to the workforce after a career break,” Knapp says.

“Recently, we placed a return-to-work mother out of the workforce for more than 10 years in a C-level role. When companies open their doors to working with firms like FoundHer and hiring untapped talent, they are not only selecting underrepresented vendors but they are also fulfilling their own diversity goals.

“B Corps are focused on continuous improvement, and require recertification every 3 years. We appreciate the requirement to continuously evaluate our processes. It keeps us accountable to ‘purpose over profit’ in all aspects of our day-to-day operations.”

Bigelow Tea in Fairfield — founded by Westporters, and run now by CEO (and 1973 Staples High School graduate) Cindi Bigelow — is another B Corp company.

The recently established B Local Connecticut (with board members Jen Gorin, Kerrie McDevitt and Runa Knapp, all from Westport) hosts educational and networking events throughout the state.

For more information on B Corp certification, click here.

(“06880” delivers local news you never knew you needed to know. Please click here to support our work. Thank you!) 

B Corp Certification: Coming Soon To Your Company?

Quick: How many Westport-based businesses are B Corp certified?

The answer: one.

A better question: What exactly is B Corp certification?

Administered by the non-profit B Lab, it’s awarded after a comprehensive assessment — from supply chain to charitable giving and employee benefits — that evaluates a company’s operations and business model impact on its workers, community, environment, and customers. B Corp certification “recognizes a company’s social and environmental performance.”

Athleta, Eileen Fisher and Patagonia are all Westport businesses with B Corp certification. Ben & Jerry’s has it too, though they are no longer downtown.

But the only truly local company with the “B” on its door and website is Impact Growth Partners.

That’s not surprising. Founded by Jenifer Gorin, the woman-run consulting firm helps companies expand their social and environmental responsibility. As part of that work, they assist clients through the rigorous B Corp assessment process.

They do it globally. But they’d love local firms to be B Corp certified too.

Any company that is “purpose-driven, and socially and environmentally conscious” can apply, says IGP consultant Kerrie McDevitt. Those businesses can provide either services or products.

Kerrie McDevitt

“It would be great if Westport was a hub for B Corp certification,” McDevitt — who lives here with her husband and 2 children, and serves on the board of the local National Charity League — says. “It would show our commitment to environmental and social consciousness.”

B Corp certification sends an important signal to customers, potential clients and others, she says. “Many millennials and Gen Z-ers want to purchase from, and give business to, companies that care and are engaged.” Recent graduates want to work for those firms too.

A company does not need a consultant like IGP to go through the certification process, she notes. “But it is rigorous. It looks at everything from diversity and inclusion in hiring, to the representation of underserved groups in management and the supply chain, to domestic partner benefits, to the handling of environmental waste and water usage. We can help be a ‘project manager.'”

Not all companies earn certification. But just going through the process can help them learn about themselves, and assess best practices. At this fraught time in American history, many businesses are doing just that.

As for Westport, McDevitt says: “Wouldn’t it be so nice to walk through town, and see the B Corp logo on so many doors.”

(For more information on B Corp certification, click here and here, or email kerrie@impactgrowthpartners.com)