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.
What is a B Corp certification?
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.
What can you do as a conscious consumer?
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.