Iowa’s Only 2 Certified B-Corporations
We all know what a C corporation is and some of us are familiar with an S-corporation (for tax reasons). But what about a B corporation? And why are there only 2 in Iowa?
Directly from their website:
B Corp is to business what Fair Trade certification is to coffee or USDA Organic certification is to milk.
B Corps are for-profit companies certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.
Today, there is a growing community of more than 2,100 Certified B Corps from 50 countries and over 130 industries working together toward 1 unifying goal: to redefine success in business.
In short, there were many certifications for specific products (e.g. food, drink, clothing) and for specific issues (e.g. zero waste, net zero energy, climate neutral) but none for an overall environmentally and socially responsible business. Until 2006.
B Lab is a nonprofit organization serving a global movement of people “using business as a force for good.” They are driving systemic change by building a global community of Certified B Corporations. The District of Columbia and 33 states have passed laws allowing companies to incorporate as legal entities whose environmental or social mission supersedes their financial duty to stockholders for maximizing profit. Instead of S corporations or C corporations, these are known as benefit corporations (B Corporations).
BCorps in Iowa
In Iowa, B Corporation is not an authorized legal entity for incorporation—yet, but businesses can still seek third-party certification and join the movement. Tools like the B Impact Assessment and B Analytics are available baseline their impact and track improvements. Certified companies can also leverage the storytelling of B the Change Media in their marketing efforts.
Today, two Iowa companies are certified B Corporations: Eco Lips and Raining Rose, both in Cedar Rapids. Andrea Shriver, co-founder of both businesses, graciously wrote the foreword for my new book, Sustainable Business in Iowa (just released), and shared some of her motivations. I expect more to follow the lead of entrepreneurs like her.
Eco Lips is a privately owned manufacturer of organic lip balm founded in 2003 with 31 employees. Their plant is in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and several case studies about their efforts can be found in my new book. The B Impact Assessments are used in setting the company’s annual goals including things like product design, waste reduction, and diversity and inclusion.
Raining Rose is a privately owned manufacturer of personal care products founded in 1996. Their facility is also in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Sustainable Business in Iowa
As Kum & Go’s first manager of sustainability in 2010, I wrote my first book and began teaching CSR & Sustainability for the University of Iowa evening MBA program. In 2014, I launched and became the executive director of the Iowa Sustainable Business Forum and an independent consultant. With the help of an endless amount of Iowa professionals in various fields (see the Acknowledgements page), I just released my second book, Sustainable Business in Iowa: How Leading Companies Profit from Environmental and Social Responsibility. It gives step-by-step guidance on how industry leaders define, measure, and improve their own corporate sustainability programs. The book also highlights over 30 responsible Iowa businesses as case study examples.
The Kindle ebook is free and the paperback is heavily discounted for the first week of promotion, until March 2nd. Get your copy today and help move your company forward!