At Vermont Creamery, ensuring that we are holding ourselves accountable to our vision, and measuring our progress, is key to our success as a growing values-led company. Our B Corp certification is a core component of this. This international certification demonstrates our commitment to our mission, and measures how we use business as a force for good. Originally certifying in 2014, we chose to pursue the certification both to protect our founding mission and values, and to create a roadmap towards an aspirational future. Since then, the certification has become a key tool for our business to see how we are measuring up.
In order to maintain our B Corp certification, we go through the recertification process every three years. Each time, we complete the B Impact Assessment, the certifying tool that B Lab built to measure the certification. This Assessment is continually evolving and measures our business practices in the areas of governance, employees, supply chain, community, environment and customers. How we measure up, and continue to improve our impact, is key to our success as a business. My role, as the “B Keeper,” is to manage our certification, engage the team, and measure our business using the assessment. B Lab, the certifying organization, is a terrific partner to work with and helps us to understand our opportunities as both we and the state of mission-led business evolves.
Last month, we wrapped up our recertification process for the fourth time and we are celebrating by reflecting on our B Corp certification and sharing the B Corp love with our Bettermakers.
The B Corp certification process is a true team effort. While I manage the certification, I work closely with a number of other partners throughout the business who help to measure and track inputs. It takes months of reviewing the assessment, gathering information from team members, plugging that back in, and celebrating as our score adjusts. It is honestly an “all hands on deck” effort as we dig deep for historical data to ensure we have sufficient back up documentation to support our responses.
We are rigorous.
The B Impact Assessment is thorough, and truly challenges us to be continually bettering our business practices. The assessment is continually getting more rigorous- as “sustainable business” becomes the path forward, B Lab is always raising the bar to ensure that the certification truly distinguishes those who preach from those who practice. The Assessment pushes us to take a good, hard look at our business—from diversity metrics and living wage, to environmental footprints, packaging recyclability, and the impact of our supply chain. Each round of recertification, we’ve sweated a little bit more, and I’ve lost a little more sleep. We are proud to achieve the standards each time.
We celebrate alongside the B Corp Community.
One of the most rewarding parts of being a B Corp is the community we get to participate in—both here in Vermont, and globally. The mighty B’s are an inspiring bunch, and we seek to learn from what other companies are doing as well as build relationships in order to collaborate and lift each other up. As we neared the end of our recertification process this summer, I reached out to fellow B Corps with an invitation to celebrate alongside us as we closed in on the finish line—and they sent back encouraging messages as well as goodies for us to share. As part of our Employee Appreciation Day, we educated our team on the B Corp certification and celebrated with a small B Corp Marketplace for them to “shop” and take items home. The support we felt from our B Corp community and the enthusiasm from our Bettermakers was very rewarding.
We love to encourage new B Corps!
While it can feel daunting, we always encourage partners and companies we engage with to consider the B Corp certification.
Check out the B Impact Assessment- you might be surprised how much you already measure or report
Connect with certified businesses to understand their perspective, I am always excited to chat with businesses that are considering attempting certification to share our experience with both the certification process as well as the community of B’s.
Make a plan! If the certification seems unattainable in the short term, use the categories and questions to build a business roadmap to set yourself on a path towards certification within the next several years.
Want to learn more about the B Corp certification and community? Visit https://bcorporation.net/ to understand how the B Corp movement is using business as a force for good and learn more about the amazing companies who share this certification—over 4,000 businesses across 77 countries. And look for the B Corp logo in your daily life- I imagine you’ll find that at least a few brands you currently purchase are also certified.