“Helping women? Alleviating poverty? And trying to do right by the environment? It sounds like you’re trying to boil the ocean.”
In a world where the shark tank is revered, businesses that believe in doing good are still as uncommon as a blue whale. The traditional advice is to first get rich, by any cost necessary, and then throw some of your profits over the fence to clean up the mess you helped create (for example, fast fashion empire H&M is widely known as one of the worst environmental offenders, but its foundation takes credit for “protecting the planet.” So of course a mission that works to make change in multiple arenas at the same time would be viewed as overly ambitious.
But we don’t care. At WORK+SHELTER, we want it all.
To that end, we’re becoming a B Corp. The B in B Corp stands for “Benefit.” This holistic certification proves that not only are we creating value for the women we work with in India, but also for our suppliers, our local community, and the environment. The whole damn ocean. 🙂
As a founder, I’ve loved how going through the B Corp assessment has challenged us to create scalable infrastructure that will help us build a better company long term. For example, we have known that the paid training we offer our female stakeholders in India is a lifeline that helps them emerge from poverty, but we weren’t consistently tracking the details of how much the women were making before. The B Corp assessment encourages tracking metrics, because only by tracking them can we work to improve our impact. This means that a year from now we’ll be able to share exactly how much of an impact we were able to make.
As a consumer, going through the B Corp certification process has shifted my purchasing habits. When I see a B Corp logo on a product, I know that the makers behind it are legit. So even if I’m just popping into Target on my way home from yoga class, I know I have options for protein powder, vitamins, and snack bars. Further, many well-known companies such as Patagoni, Athleta, Everlane, and Bombas are B Corp certified too. They prove to the rest of us that it’s possible to have it all.
Stay conscious ya’ll!
Founder + CEO