Is B Corp legit? Sometimes, but all B Corps are not created equal. As I established in my deep dive on B Corps, it is virtually impossible to tell what positive impact a B Corp is having on the environment or society.
For instance, B Corp scores Veja as a 22.1 on its treatment of workers but Allbirds racks up a 22.9, what does that mean? On the other hand, the helpful fashion rating site, Good On You, has Veja as a 5 out of 5 on its treatment of workers and gives Allbirds only a 2. Um, I’m confused.
Unfortunately, trying to tell whether companies are greenwashing themselves with a B Corp label or actually trying to do good by the earth and its inhabitants is basically impossible.
But hey, that’s what we are here for. Let’s highlight a few companies who are for real doing good by the planet.
As an added bonus, these companies sell products that nudge you towards more sustainable living, just by using their products!
All the companies below have signed on to a pledge to reach carbon neutrality by 2030 (kinda, the language of the agreement actually doesn’t say that…ugh, B Corps, I’m trying really hard to like you!).
The pledge requires companies to reduce emissions in line with targets associated with minimizing the global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius. It also requires companies to reach carbon neutrality, that is off-set the remainder of their emissions, sometime between 2025 and 2050, among other actions.
Ethique Is Setting Serious Environmental Goals
Ethique is a legit B Corp. Ethique sells an innovative product – concentrated shampoo and conditioner bars – that cut out plastic waste, reduces emissions, and nudges you towards a more sustainable lifestyle.
If you go to Ethique’s website, it is pretty clear from the outset that they are serious about their environmental commitment. Ethique scores in the top 10% of B Corps on sustainability. More importantly, they have set the goal to be climate POSITIVE as of 2020, meaning they’d actually take out more carbon from the air than they put in.
This is mostly done from carbon offsets, planting trees or buying renewable energy to “replace” the dirty energy you use. Read my article about switching your energy supplier to renewable energy and the counterintuitive world of Renewable Energy Credits. Or experience the feeling of traveling back to grade school and watch this helpful instructional video.
Now, as Ethique transparently admits, carbon offsets are not a solution to climate change but they get bonus points for their thoughtful approach – offsetting all the company’s carbon plus the carbon emissions from their employees’ personal lives.
Of course, it wouldn’t matter if Ethique’s product sucked and ruined the earth (spoiler alert, they don’t). They sell a concentrated block of shampoo, equivalent to 3 bottles of liquid shampoo. It works more or less like regular shampoo, with a slight twist on how to apply it – rub it on your head like you are giving yourself a noogie.
Ethique’s shampoo and conditioner bars definitely fall within what I lovingly call the Golden Triangle of Goodness – the trifecta of financially prudent, environmentally sustainable, and healthy life choice.
On the financial side of the Golden Triangle, it is deceivingly affordable. The shampoo bar has the equivalent of 3 bottles of liquid shampoo and is very competitive on cost with even the most basic shampoo.
I’d say it is a money-saver when compared to higher quality shampoos. I don’t think you can get 3 bottles of herbal or vegan shampoo with the same attention to ingredients and quality for the same price.
Ethique points out how transformative switching to shampoo and conditioner in bar form can be. The average shampoo or body wash is up to 80% water (shocking, right?). Therefore, using shampoo in bar form saves water, is less carbon intensive to manufacture, and of course, no plastic bottle to deal with at the end.
Ethique seems to walk the walk in other ways too. Their packaging and shipping is all compostable and plastic-free. They are working towards becoming a zero waste office, recycling or composting all their office waste, and giving generously to charity, with 20% of profits going to various charitable groups.
Klean Kanteen is a B Corp that is Legit
Klean Kanteen is part of the Climate Neutral network. That means they’ve gone through a rigorous process to identify all their emissions and are currently 100% climate neutral via carbon offsets.
Klean Kanteen gets huge points for transparency. Not may companies have such easy to understand sustainability info on their website. I especially like how they present the sources of all their emissions in a handy pie chart.
Looking at what a company publishes about their environmental impact is one way to answer the question, is this B Corp legit?
Klean Kanteen’s sustainability report is one of the best I’ve seen from a B Corp. They break down all their emissions by various sources, like shipping and manufacturing, and show the trends.
Unfortunately, as of their 2019 report, most of the trends were going in the wrong direction. I don’t hold this against them since I suspect most B Corps are the same, though to keep beating the dead horse, there is no way to know since B Corp doesn’t really provide that insight to consumers.
However, Klean Kanteen’s products are another example of a product that nudges you towards a more sustainable lifestyle. Single use plastic is choking our environment.
Do you know that plastic will last approximately 500 years in a landfill? And in the 70 years we’ve been making plastic, we’ve created 9 billion tons of it!
But you may protest, I recycle my plastic bottles! Um, sorry Charlie, not gonna cut it.
There are a few estimates out there, but the current percent of plastic that actually gets recycled is around 7% to 9%. Recycling is good, but cutting out plastic completely is better. There is a reason the waste hierarchy starts with “reduce.” The best way to reduce waste is to stop creating it.
And the Lex Luthor of single-use plastic villains is the plastic water bottle. Above is a picture of all the plastic bottles we pulled off about 100 yards of the Anacostia River in Washington D.C. during a clean up last year.
Klean Kanteen has plenty of solutions for your hydration needs which are superior to a plastic bottle.
The double-walled version, which is a little heavier, is nice since it is insulated. But for lunch trips the single-walled version is light and does the job (plus it is cheaper). There are lots of other stainless steel bottles out there, but we like Klean Kanteen because they are an awesome company.
Preserve is an Exemplary Example of a Benefit Corporation
Preserve might be our favorite brands that use recycled materials. You could almost outfit most of your house with Preserve’s products. They sell a version of almost every household good you need made of recycled plastic.
The founder Eric Hudson saw that although Americans were putting ample materials into the recycling stream, it would not get used unless manufacturers used it to make things.
Their mission statement, which we love, is “To help reduce the harm caused by the industrial age by demonstrating that consumer products can be both fabulous and lighter on the earth”.
Preserve is taking serious steps to curb their impact on the environment. First off, using recycled material significantly reduces emissions, especially since a large portion of emissions come from the extraction of raw materials from the earth.
Secondly, Preserve manufactures, through its partners, all products in the U.S., limiting the emissions associated with shipping.
As mentioned above, Preserve is a signatory to the Net Zero by 2030 group. They are also planning to set aggressive emissions reduction goals that could potentially get them to net zero even faster. I can’t wait to see what they come up with.
All of their kitchen products are superior, from an environmental standpoint, to their virgin plastic doppelgangers, like their food storage options and their dinnerware (which is great for those butter-fingered children, or, um, adults).
Surely There Are More Legit B Corps in the World?
Is B Corp legit? There are hundreds of B Corps out there and I think it is safe to say yes. There are plenty of legit B Corps.
But they might not be as environmentally sustainable or have as innovative eco-friendly products.
However, you can be confident that when purchasing these companies’ eco-friendly products, your precious purchasing power is reinforcing your values in the market.
Please write me if you think there are some other stand-out companies that I am missing.
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