As students, our careers are constantly on our minds; especially since, for some of us, graduation is looming. The nature of career preparation is constantly changing, as is the job market. In this growing climate that we live in, many of us are interested in making a difference but are unsure if nonprofit or government work is necessarily the right career for us. Luckily, working in public service is a spectrum with lots of different options for career paths made for different people. One of these organizations is known as a Certified B-Corp or a Benefit Corporation.
A Benefit Corporation is a for-profit company with a specific legal organization. This legal organization’s purpose is mission and value alignments for a certain cause. This legal tool assists with accountability for mission-based actions, higher leadership reputation within the organization, as well as increased attractiveness for long-term investors. These companies usually have a specific cause that the staff and leadership team are passionate about. The legal organization of the company allows for them to fundraise and be more involved in the cause. Some examples of Benefit Corporations are Ben & Jerry’s, Patagonia, Bombas, and Athleta.
Although very similar, Benefit Corporations and Certified B-Corps have a few notable differences from each other. These are important to keep in mind when applying for these organizations because it’s possible that they operate differently and have different structures. When a company has Benefit Corporation status, that means that the organization has a legal structure that increases accountability, transparency, and flexibility for the organization to make capital raises towards a cause. Having this status does not mean the organization is a Certified B Corporation. The status is not required, however is helpful for becoming a Certified B-Corp. Certified B Corps are very similar to this legal status, however, these organizations have to meet more specific requirements including recertification every 3 years, achieving a specific score on the B impact assessment, and paying higher certification fees.
Benefit Corporations are great organizations to work for because they provide accountability towards the individuals in leadership positions as well as the rest of the staff within the company structure. This way, you as an employee can feel safe knowing that the company you work for is being socially responsible and is being held accountable for ethical business practices. In addition, B-Corps are very attractive to both short and long-term investors, providing more financial stability when it comes to both operating the company and making donations. B-Corps are also known to attract talent, meaning that the people you work with are knowledgeable and impactful. This way, you can be confident that your professional network will be strong, and the people you work with are intelligent and experienced.
B-Corps are a great option for young professionals who are looking to make a difference through their careers but don’t necessarily identify with government or nonprofit organizations. These organizations offer great opportunities for advancement and have a wide range of professions within their structure. If you have questions about B Corps or how to get involved in them, check out the Careers for the Common Good Page for more information.