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B Corps and Consumer Products: What Do All Those Symbols Mean?

SnipImage.jpgYou have probably noticed plenty of symbols and certifications on consumer products when you are shopping. If not, next time you are at the grocery store, pick up that box of organic cereal or perhaps the dish washing soap from Seventh Generation. View image

You will notice some different, and sometimes new, symbols. One symbol represents a B Corp, a relatively new but promising way companies can be structured in order to operate in a socially responsible way.

If you see the B Corp symbol on a consumer product, that means that the company selling that product has undergone a rigorous process to meet a standard that assures that the company is purpose-driven and creates benefit for all of its stakeholders, not just shareholders. So B Corps have to consider such factors as impact on the local and global environment, its workers, and the community where it does business.

For consumers, this offers a great way to assure that the products you purchase are being manufactured and sold in ways that consider more than profits. For businesses, the B Corp option provides a route to authentically operate in ways that are both ethically and economically sound.

While establishing a B Corp has unique challenges, there are also considerable and sustainable opportunities. For starters, there is no doubt that as consumers, we have become more demanding about what we buy. Some people are concerned about the ingredients in a product. How much sugar or sodium does a serving contain? Others have issues with allergies or sensitivities and need to know if a product contains dairy or gluten. Then there are those that have broader social concerns and are interested in buying local or want a product that is free trade.

A B Corp offers a path to address many of those issues in ways that go far beyond lip service. Currently, it is difficult to know if a company is just engaging in fancy marketing, maybe declaring a product to be "new and improved," rather than being genuine and sincere about what it is they are attempting to sell. The B Corp certification is a way of determining whether the company selling that product truly walks the walk.

More and more, entrepreneurs and business owners are looking for ways to do work that has real meaning while also aligning with the changing preferences of customers. By establishing a B Corp, you can set yourself up to do good in business - and do good in the world as well.

Would you like to know more about how you can become a B Corp or structure your business as a purpose-driven enterprise? Feel free to contact John Leemhuis at the Quinn Law Firm at 814-833-2222 or at [email protected]

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