For the third consecutive year, Apple tops the list of most innovative companies.
Companies with a Conscience
While there are standards to certify coffee as Fair Trade, or a green building as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), there was no standard to measure the social and environmental performance of an entire company, said Jay Coen Gilbert, co-founder of the nonprofit B Lab in Berwyn, Penn., which has certified more than 650 B Corps.
"Ultimately people care about the companies that stand behind the products," he said. "Just because you're in a LEED building doesn't mean you treat the people inside particularly well."
To obtain a two-year certification, B Corps must earn 80 out of 200 points on a B Impact Assessment, and 20% of members are randomly selected for on-site audits. B Corps also agree to legal accountability to protect the interests of all company stakeholders -- not just shareholders.
B Corp Certification creates customer loyalty and a collective voice for change that includes Patagonia, online retailer Etsy, and now ice-cream maker Ben & Jerry's. It's also good for business: During the recession, over half the B-Corp community grew its job base by 5%, Coen Gilbert said.
"At some level, B Corps are just a better mousetrap," he said. "Over time, like any disruptive technology, they'll ultimately outcompete and crowd out what came before."