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Why are outdoor companies becoming B Corps?


February 9, 2023


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B Corp Certification

Today’s consumers want more than to buy cool products. They want to know that their purchases are not causing harm to the planet, or the people and animals that live on it. However, it’s not just consumers who have evolved to be more conscious of the impact of their actions: companies have too. There is a new wave of businesses who want to do good things, not just money, and make positive change happen. Meet the B Corporations.

In this article you will learn:

  1. What is a B Corp and why is it important?
  2. B Corp and the outdoors industry
  3. The certification’s main advantages
  4. How companies can get certified
  5. Some of the B Corp companies available at SAIL
  6. FAQ

What is a B Corp and why is it important?

A B Corp is a company that has undergone a rigorous certification process and has demonstrated that it adheres to high standards of social and environmental responsibility. The certification exercise is performed by a non-profit organization called B Lab, which both oversees the verification and establishes the standards companies have to follow.

The certification aims to “Make business a force for good”. What does this mean? For B Lab, it is not just about taking action to follow set rules: it is about transforming the typical business model and keeping organizations accountable, so they contribute to solving some of the most important issues faced by society today.

B Corp is also about creating value for all stakeholders, not just shareholders. Stakeholders include everyone and everything involved in the production process, from employees and suppliers, to the communities that support them as well as the environment.

B Corp and the outdoors industry

Using products that cause no harm is particularly important for outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds. Why? Hikers, campers, skiers, runners… We all go through a lot of gear! Some of which can take its toll on the planet. For example, the impact of the textile production industry on the environment is not to be neglected, so making informed choices when selecting outdoor apparel is crucial.

Certified B Corps are required to follow some of the highest standards when it comes to both social and environmental performance. Consumers opting to add to their gear kit by purchasing an outdoor product from a B Corp make sure that:

  • The manufacturing methods used follow sustainable guidelines. As an example, this could mean that manufacturers are using recycled materials, or incorporating biodegradable fabrics into their designs.
    Their chosen products are durable. One of the ways to reduce our collective carbon footprint is to purchase long-lasting products that will not immediately end up in landfills.
  • Workers have been looked after, and provided with decent wages, good working conditions and safe working environments.
  • There is transparency throughout the entire supply chain.

The certification’s main advantages

Having a B Corp certification provides both customers and the businesses’ stakeholders with a wide range of benefits.

For customers

The stamp of approval is a sure-fire way for outdoor enthusiasts to find organizations truly dedicated to sustainability from the inside out. With so many green claims floating around, it can be hard to know which businesses truly make an impact on the planet and the local community, and which ones are advertising a gimmick. The B Corp certification gives people a way to differentiate between the two.

For stakeholders

As mentioned, stakeholders include a wide range of people and aspects, from employees to local communities and the environment. B Corps provide them all with transparency and accountability. How?

Organizations committed to being a force for good do more than simply changing their production processes or doing their due diligence when choosing a supplier. They transform their business’s structure from the inside out. B Corp applicants must change their Articles of Incorporation to integrate their commitment to being an agent of change. This way, the board of directors can be held accountable for the impact of their business’s activities on other stakeholders.

How companies can get certified

The certification process is very comprehensive and quite rigorous, and has to be redone every three years to ensure businesses remain focused on their social and sustainable objectives. Companies are evaluated on several facets of their operations, including their social impact. Standards use principles of fairness, equality and diversity to determine if a business’s performance is up to par. B Corps stand against racism, sexism and oppression or injustice of any kind.

Sustainability is also a big area of interest for B Lab, the non-profit body behind the B Corp certification. Environmentally friendly practices are key for any business hoping to join the ranks of the certified B Corps.

Some of the B Corp companies available at SAIL

There are many certified B Corps within the outdoor industry, some of which you may already be familiar with. One of the most famous is Patagonia, whose founder recently gave the company away in order to fight climate change. Water filters and purification systems manufacturer LifeStraw is also amongst the B Corps on the market, just like sustainable clothing brand Tentree. And speaking of clothing, eco-friendly and animal-free jacket manufacturer Save the Duck and sustainable outdoor gear brand Cotopaxi have also joined the certified B Corps ranks.

Have a look at a few other of the SAIL eco-friendly brands here.


How do you get B Corp certified?

What is a B Corp company?

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