Traditionally, a business’s success was defined by its revenues, employment levels and growth trajectory. The more money the business could generate, the more they could leverage that “success” and attract more customers. In today’s more “woke” society, businesses are beginning to understand that it’s no longer just the brand name that drives revenues. Rather, consumers are looking to align themselves with organizations that offer responsible ideals and promote like-minded social and communal values. Enter the Benefits Corporation (B Corp) status, to which 3,900 companies in over 70 countries, including nine here in New Mexico, are currently certified.
Companies that receive a Certified B Corp status see themselves as a force for good and positive change in the world. The purpose is for a business to align with the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability. “Being a B Corp is hard ongoing work,” said Danika Padilla, senior director of social impact at Meow Wolf, which received its B Corp status in 2017. “We constantly examine our policies, practices and procedures while setting goals for improvement. It’s not about being perfect; it’s about understanding our opportunities to be a more responsible business and creating the plan to get us there.”
A business cannot just simply claim B Corp status. It requires a detailed application process that covers areas of Governance, Workers, Community and Environment. Each category is given a B Impact Score ranging from 0 to 200. The median score for most businesses is 50.9, but a business must score an 80 or higher to receive a B Corp Certification. It can take between six and 10 months to complete the application process, and only about one in three companies that submit for certification will receive it.
Positive Energy Solar, also a local Benefits Corporation, has retained a B Corp status since 2013. “It’s certainly good to know that the company that you work for is driven by more than just profit and can prove it,” said Christopher Fortson, marketing director and employee-owner. Businesses like Meow Wolf and Positive Energy Solar have also leveraged their B Corp status as a way to attract candidates for hiring candidates. “Our team is deeply involved in our community efforts and is dedicated to holding us accountable,” said Padilla.
The UNM Anderson School of Management also recognizes the importance of businesses adhering to ethical and responsible business practices by creating The New Mexico for Good program. The program will include B Corps and other businesses that are interested in promoting responsible business practices in the areas of, among other things, fair trade and environmental consciousness.
In New Mexico, the companies with active B Corp statuses include Agenda, LLC; Falling Colors; Banyan Botanicals; LongView Asset Management; Meow Wolf; Taos Ski Valley; Second Muse; Positive Energy Solar and UpSpring. “Large businesses play central roles in communities, nations and the world,” said Positive Energy’s Fortson. “They can incorporate transparent and ethical business practices that consider stakeholders, not just shareholders, in their operations.” For businesses interested in acquiring a B Corp status, bcorporation.net provides guidelines and support.