Who is B Lab and what is a B Corp?
Business as a force for good – this is the underlying vision of B Lab. Founded in 2006 in the USA, this non-profit organization certifies for-profit companies as B Corporations – B Corps for short. The "B" stands for beneficial and the benefit to society and the environment these businesses are providing. Today, members of the global B Corp community are working together to make the planet a better place. How are they doing this? By putting business practices to the test. Interested companies must undergo a rigorous certification process according to strict criteria: What values does it live by in terms of its management style? What rights do its employees have? What is its impact on the environment, society and customers? A company with certified B Corp status means that it meets the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, balancing profit and purpose.
Goals and values of the worldwide movement
B Lab brings together companies working towards a unifying goal: to build a more inclusive and sustainable economy for all. "Striving for the common good is a paradigm shift," explains Dr. Stefan Siemer, Head of Sustainability at Weleda. "Profit remains an important goal, but we must never achieve it at the expense of people, animals or the environment." B Corporations are committed to a long-term process of continuous improvement: every three years they must re-certify and meet increasingly ambitious standards. The aim is not to be less bad, but to do more good for people and the environment through exemplary business practices. B Corporations are by definition social enterprises, which use their profits to add value to society.
How do companies become certified B Corps?
To receive B Corp certification, companies work with B Lab to evaluate their business, down to the last detail. At the heart of the process is the B Impact Assessment. This tool measures how business decisions affect all stakeholders – shareholders, employees, customers and suppliers. An Impact Assessment Score of 80+ points allows a company to take the next step towards certification. Legal accountability plays a key role: for example, by resolution of the Weleda owners, the pursuit of the common good and ecological well-being is now anchored in our bylaws. Certified companies support the B Corp movement with an annual certification fee, sign the B Corp Declaration of Interdependence and agree to the terms of agreement. Our positive impact is supported by transparency: the detailed assessment report is available to the public.
B Corp certification recognizes companies that operate in a responsible, environmentally sustainable and socially equitable manner.Dr. Stefan Siemer, Head of Sustainability
What this certification means to Weleda
We have always been committed to sustainability. As a purpose-driven company, we strive for a future that is environmentally sustainable and socially equitable. We invest our funds with ethical banks. B Lab praised our certified Weleda natural cosmetics and the equitable relationships we nurture with cultivation partners. Obtaining B Corp certification was a logical next step for us, so we can put our values into practice even more effectively. Instead of taking many individual measures as in the past, we have now launched an ambitious holistic climate protection programme.
Our climate protection programme
By the end of 2021 we want to become arithmetically climate neutral. The initial focus of our efforts is on our buildings, production facilities and vehicle fleet. From 2022 onwards, we will be improving the environmental performance of all Weleda products. This includes finding innovative solutions to transport, supply chains, agricultural cultivation of raw materials, and packaging including production and disposal. By 2025, we aim to have dramatically reduced our financial carbon footprint as well as the environmental impact of our products during use (such as avoiding the use of hot water). With our One Percent Programme, we are investing in fighting climate change, improving soil health and protecting biodiversity.
Our commitment to the global community
As part of the B Corp community, we want to be an active role model and serve by example. This includes openly sharing our experiences with the entire B Corp movement. We offer advice and support to other business leaders interested in certification. Through lectures, workshops and internal working groups we are contributing our insight and expertise. Advocacy at the political level is also important, and we are actively seeking dialogue with decision-makers. "We all know the most important sustainability problems of this world," notes Stefan Siemer. "As a global movement, B Corporations are showing that financial, social and environmental goals can be achieved simultaneously and are mutually beneficial."
As of 2020, B Corps around the world have protected
Facts and milestones
- B Lab is a not-for-profit organization founded in the USA in 2006.
- Today there are 4,000+ certified B Corporations worldwide, representing 150+ industries in 77 countries.
- International brands with B Corp certification include Patagonia, Fairphone, Hootsuite and Ben & Jerry’s.
- The global B Corp movement is also working with cities to drive positive change through the Cities Can B initiative. It has joint projects with Edinburgh, Cordoba, Barcelona, Santiago, Mendoza, Rio de Janeiro, Córdoba, and Asunción.
- As of 2020, B Corps around the world have protected 200,000 hectares of land, offset 16 million tonnes of carbon and saved 225 million litres of water.
- Since 2015, B Lab Europe has overseen a growing network of 400+ certified B Corporations in nine countries across mainland Europe to date, including France, Denmark, Italy and Spain.
How Weleda is changing the world
Weleda is now a certified B Corp. In this interview with Dr. Stefan Siemer, Head of Sustainability at Weleda, we speak about the certification process, the high standards of the issuing organisation, and the reasons that led us to take this step.
We care for biodiversity around the world
In producing our natural skin care and pharmaceutical products, we treat the earth’s resources with care at every step – starting with the seeds that we plant. In doing so, we are protecting biodiversity and nurturing healthy soils around the world.
We strive to continuously improve our packaging
Why do we use plastic packaging? Because so far, there’s no perfect solution for all our products. But we are working hard to make our packaging even better, to reduce its impact on the environment.
Our raw materials are sourced ethically and sustainably
We are committed to ensuring that our raw materials are ethically sourced. That’s why we have been certified since 2018 by the Union for Ethical BioTrade.