How To Make Benefit Corporation Certification Better

Photo by    Clark Tibbs

Photo by Clark Tibbs

As firm believers in the “there is no finish line” concept, we are constantly seeking improvement with our certification process. Day-by-day, week-by-week, month-by-month, we look for ways to make our Triple Bottom Line of People, Planet and Profit certification not only stronger but more meaningful to all stakeholders.

In an online Oregon Business magazine article posted last Friday, we revealed our plan to strengthen benefit corporation certification with our company. Much of our idea for improvement was sparked by important members of our community concerned about “greenwashing” and “false advertising.” You see, some businesses decide to become an Oregon Benefit Company but do not follow up on the practices required for such an entity, including adopting third-party standards reflected in certification.

Most of the 34 states offering the benefit corporation option do not have the resources to enforce that legislation. So, in a letter that went out to our clients on Monday, we outlined our practices to make their current certification even better:

To ensure that certification continues to be meaningful over time for all your stakeholders, we have developed a new annual practice. Here’s what we are going to do:

1.       On the anniversary of your certification each year, we will send you a gentle reminder to make sure you create and publish your “Annual Benefit Report” to share your adherence to the standards of Benefit Corporations for Good. (We have a template to help you with this.)

2.       After 90 days of sending out that email, we will check your website to ensure it is posted there. Upon seeing it, we will happily add your company name to a page on the website listing all companies that we have certified as “current.”

3.       And moving forward to ensure your ongoing commitment to the values of Benefit Corporations for Good and the spirit of the Oregon statute, we will ask you to retake the written assessment within three months of the 12-month date of the certification.

This way, we ensure the ongoing credibility and legitimacy of companies choosing to adopt the Benefit Corporations for Good standards. And we can continue to feature them on our website as practitioners of the Triple Bottom Line and as a force for good.