What is a B Corporation?
A B corporation, or benefit corporation, is a for-profit company that includes all or part of a social enterprise as part of its legal purpose. The social enterprise aspect means each B corporation considers its positive impact on the world, its employees, the local community and the environment. In addition to these considerations, a B company still has to focus on profit. These are lofty goals for any company or group. Uncommon Goods, based in Brooklyn, New York, is a shining example of a B corporation. Their social enterprise benefits their employees, customers, and the environment. Uncommon Goods continues to carry out the good work and purpose it began in 1999, when the company started. Founder Dave Bolotsky focused on sustainablity from day one.
Purpose Drives Action
Every good B corporation needs a solid purpose to drive its decision making. The purpose and mission of Uncommon Goods is to change the way business is done by making sustainability a part of every decision it makes. The company is environmentally friendly and socially responsible. It is also a rewarding place to work for its employees. Uncommon Goods offers health insurance to all its full time employees and most of its part time employees. They offer employees a living wage as part of their commitment to practice integrity in everything they do.
Uncommon Goods sells handmade products created by artists or small manufacturers. The products are made of recycled and organic materials. The company ensures that each supplier creates their goods with social and environmental responsibility. They do not sell products with materials that could harm animals or people. Banned materials include leather, feathers, and fur. Part of the company’s mission is to do no harm.
A Thoughtful Steward
Uncommon Goods sets themselves apart, even as a B corporation, by extending their social enterprise to their catalog policy. The company does not mail many catalogs, instead offering their wares online. For the catalogs they do produce, Uncommon Goods usually uses recycled paper. For the rest of their catalogs, Uncommon Goods uses FSC certified forests for the paper. An FSC certified forest practices sustainable practices in harvesting trees for paper.
A B company must meet certain standards. The standards are outlined in a screening questionnaire that every B company must complete to earn the B seal. Uncommon Goods has met these standards and continues to hold themselves to them with every move they make. They are a perfect exemplar of a B company that is making an impact on their workers, the environment, and the world.