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model-not just from an environmentally, earthy, crunchy
model, but sustainable financially," Barber says. "It does
no good to have these great environmentally sustainable
business practices if you can't be financially sustainable."
FORCE FOR GOOD
According to the B Lab website, B Corps "lead a growing
global movement of people using business as a force for
good." The certification process scores a company in a host
of areas, including governance, ethics, workers, environment
and community. The evaluations are specialized by industry
and company size. Companies must score at least 80 out of
a possible 200 points to be certified.
That sounded like a "slam dunk" to Peter Barber, who
founded Two Dudes Painting Company with Brian McCaskey
in 1987 and has become well known in the Lancaster
area for his firm's rapid growth and involvement in the
community. In its initial assessment, the firm scored a 50.
"To see we were that far from meeting the requirements, it
was a little humbling," he admits. Undeterred, the company
made the necessary improvements and became certified
For many companies, necessary short-term improvements
are writing policy and documenting practices. Both The
Stroopie Company and Two Dudes spent time documenting
their operations in ways that aligned with their mission.
Certification "really demonstrates a holistic approach to how
we're developing our business and it's a sustainable business
The B Lab says B Corps will "redefine success" in business.
It aims to provide a framework for businesses "to measure
their social and environmental performance with the same
rigor as they measure their financial performance," says
Jonathan Coleman, director of programs at ASSETS.
For example, the assessment asks manufacturing companies
if they monitor and record emissions. But it's not enough
to answer yes. B Lab also wants to know if the company
has specific reduction targets and has met them during
a specified period of time-or, better, eliminated types of
On the employee side, the assessment wants to know
not only whether a company offers a retirement plan, but
whether there is an employer match, how much and even
whether it includes a "socially-responsible investing option"
Some of these areas are "a little down the road" for The
Stroopie Company, Groff says, "but it got the wheels turning"
in laying a foundation for what the company looks like in the
future. "We're still a start-up, so the benefits we're offering
our employees are a meaningful wage and English classes.
As we grow, we hope to offer health insurance, employee
ownership and other benefits like that."
THE NEXT STEP
There's also a destination of sorts for companies who
become certified-and that's to become entities
known as Benefit Corporations.