My Path to B Corp Certification: Nearly a Decade in the Making

My Path to B Corp Certification: Nearly a Decade in the Making

By: Emily Kane Miller

I love those moments in life when hindsight gives you the ability to see that you’ve been on a path all along …

I founded Ethos Giving in 2019, but my lead-up to running a B Corp-Certified business started long before, when I was still working in-house and way before I’d ever considered launching a company of my own.

While I began noticing the B Corp logo on products and packaging beforehand, it wasn’t until 2015 that I gained an appreciation for the intention, scale, and goals of the B Corp movement.

That summer, I was in Colorado attending the Resnick Aspen Action Forum. The program brings together hundreds of impact-oriented leaders from across the globe to meet, learn, inspire and be inspired – and commit to action. A major part of the Forum is an awards ceremony for the McNulty Prize, which recognizes visionaries who are at work solving some of society’s toughest challenges. That summer, the three founders of the B Corp movement - Andrew Kassoy, Bart Houlahan & Jay Coen Gilbert - took the stage.

Many people talk about business as a force for good,  but Andrew, Bart, and Jay knew that simply saying it wasn’t enough. They created a framework, standards, audit mechanisms, and a brand now known to consumers globally – all based on the idea that if you wanted to truly embed values and impact into your company, it required a bigger, longstanding commitment.

That resonated with me deeply in 2015, and even more so after starting Ethos Giving in 2019. The entire purpose of our company is to help foundations and businesses create, measure, manage, and sustain impact on issues of importance for their organization and the communities they call home.

Still – even then, I thought the B Corp certification was an opportunity for corporations much bigger than I was: Patagonia, Allbirds, Bombas and the like. 

About three years after we launched, a chance conversation with a B Corp Certified client had me asking the question – could Ethos Giving be a B Corp? A call with the amazing team at Impact Growth Partners (IGP) settled it. Not only were we eligible, but Ethos Giving’s mission and structure were a solid foundation for attaining certification, and IGP would support us through the entire process.

Achieving our B Corp certification in April 2023 was a huge milestone for Ethos Giving. It brings me tremendous pride to have a third party with such serious social good gravitas validate the authenticity, intentionality, and value of our impact work. I am excited to see how being a part of this global community continues to help us up our game.

What’s more – it’s a great opportunity to pause and reflect. I am confident that 2015 me would be very pleased – and impressed! – to see the B Corp seal on our website.

For any other small businesses considering B Corp certification – I hope this provides a bit of inspiration. Here is some additional food for thought as you weigh the opportunity: 

  1. Differentiation: B Corp certification is a way for small businesses to differentiate themselves in the marketplace. By becoming a B Corp, a small business can signal to customers, investors, and other stakeholders that it is committed to using business as a force for good.
  2. Attracting and retaining talent: B Corp certification can help small businesses attract and retain employees who are passionate about social and environmental issues. Many people want to work for companies that align with their values, and B Corps can provide a strong value proposition to potential employees.
  3. Access to capital: B Corp certification can help small businesses access capital from investors who are looking to support companies that are making a positive impact on society and the environment. In addition, some banks and other financial institutions offer preferential rates and terms to B Corps.
  4. Networking and learning opportunities: B Corp certification provides small businesses with access to a community of like-minded companies and individuals who are committed to using business as a force for good. This community can provide networking and learning opportunities that can help small businesses grow and thrive.

B Corp certification can be a powerful tool for small businesses that want to make a positive impact on society and the environment while also achieving business success. If you’re already part of the B Corp community – I’d love to connect! If you’re thinking about joining and have questions – please don’t hesitate to reach out.

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