B the Change!

by Ellen Niemer

B the Change!

Many companies are redefining what it is to be successful by becoming B Corp certified. Learn more about one of them.

“We have the potential to positively affect the world.” These may sound like the rallying words of a motivational speaker, but they’re actually the corporate philosophy of Genuine Health. Not your average supplement company—they’re the first in Canada to have become B Corp certified.

What is B Corp certification?

Companies who use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems can become B Corp certified. To become certified, companies are assessed in a variety of areas, including

  • the environment
  • community
  • employees
  • governance
  • accountability

A minimum score out of a possible 200 points is required for a company to become B Corp certified by B Lab, a nonprofit organization. The certification process is comparable to the way TransFair certifies Fair Trade coffee.

Why become B Corp certified?

Becoming B Corp certified is a rigorous process, but what sets Genuine Health apart is the fact that it was the first natural supplement company to become B Corp certified and the relative ease with which it accomplished this comprehensive certification.

Founder and president Stewart Brown spoke to alive about the impact B Corp certification has had on Genuine Health, and on himself, personally. Prior to certification in December 2012, Brown says Genuine Health was already doing things right from a social and environmental perspective so the certification process was a smooth one.

Environmental impact

One important area that the B Corp assessment takes into account is a company’s impact on the environment.

“Ever since I left university, I’ve never grasped how you can be polluting the water, destroying the environment, but it’s not part of your balance sheet,” says Brown. “If we’re going to change the world, businesses have to do that.”

To lessen Genuine Health’s environmental impact, they carefully consider where they source product, use Bullfrog Power, and encourage environmental initiatives such as ivy and invasive species pulls in parks across Canada. They also donate 10 percent of profits to things that can change the world, such as the David Suzuki Foundation and its 30×30 Nature Challenge.

Social connection

The triple consideration of people, planet, and prosperity that B Corp certification embodies has become a part of the Genuine Health culture and decision-making process. But it’s also created a community of other B Corp certified companies.

“To me, it really is about making a better, sustainable society. It’s nice to have an accreditation body, a standard, and even more than that, it provides a pathway forward because we’re all in a community that’s trying to be more sustainable for the benefit of everyone,” Brown says.

From a consumer perspective, B Corp certified companies like Genuine Health offer transparency and accountability.

“In the past, I never felt comfortable talking about what Genuine Health did because I felt that everyone should be doing it. I felt that if I talked about it, I could be accused of greenwashing. But the more I talk about [B], the more it seems to inspire others. The more it inspires others, the more it inspires me,” says Brown.

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