If you consider yourself a conscious consumer, you should check out brands that are B Corp certified. But What is a B Corp certification and why should you even care for it?
If you bought a new cotton t-shirt this year, you consumed around 2,700 litres of water [source] that went into making that t-shirt. But that’s not it. When it is spun into yarn, cotton takes a lot of energy causing the second-highest source of carbon pollution. [source] You contributed to that too.
Then, this cotton t-shirt goes through a dyeing process where chemical-infused water is discharged into the environment without any treatment. This leads to substantial, irreparable damage to both plants and animals.
Moreover, when that t-shirt reached you, it caused additional carbon emissions through transport. So altogether, a single (under $100) cotton t-shirt costs the planet hundreds of gallons of water and tons of carbon emissions.
Finally, when you throw this t-shirt away, you will contribute to the 350,000 tonnes of clothing [source] that ends up in landfills every year.
Do you see how your fashion choices are impacting the environment and the long-term health of the planet?
This is why you need to know the B Corp-certified brands.
A B Corp-certified brand is any company that has a B Corp certification from B labs. This certification means that the company takes holistic and sustainability practices seriously and has a system to incorporate those practices throughout its manufacturing and supply chains.
Most B Corp-certified companies like Pangaia and Allbirds go through a rigorous process to get certified. B labs, a non-profit agency behind awarding this certification, checks whether the candidate company follows the triple bottom line framework.
This framework includes three p’s: people, planet, and profit. B Corp candidates are required to find a balance between these three P’s. But most B Corp companies take it a step further to add a fourth P, which is Purpose. This simply means that the company looks far and beyond the 3 P’s and considers innovation that would allow for betterment in the future.
These four P’s are more than just theoretical ideas; companies who are serious about getting B Corp certified need to demonstrate them in their overall business operations.
B Corp-certified companies have to maintain transparency and are accountable for their sustainability goals, which makes them different from other forms of business entities that are only profit-driven.
So should you just look for a brand with B Corp certification next time?
It’s not that simple. According to Micheal O’Regan for the Conversation, just because a company is B Corp certified doesn’t mean it follows all the rules for sustainability. Most companies invest in certifications to attract investors and customers. But it also doesn’t mean that B Corp certifications are useless. Some brands really do take sustainability seriously.
Put some thought into your purchasing decisions. Research the brands you buy from and check whether they fit the bill for a completely sustainable company. Reputable brands like Allbirds inform their customers about their sustainability practices and how far they have come in achieving sustainability. Some B Corp brands to consider for your next shopping trip include Tuckerman & Co., TOMS, Animaná, Outland Denim, Patagonia, and Athleta.
How do you shop for sustainable brands? Tell us in the comment section below.