March is B Corp month, a celebration of sustainable and socially responsible brands doing business a better way across the world. From artisan studios like us, to big companies like Patagonia and iconic brands like Ben & Jerry's, we’re joining in sharing why we’re a certified B Corp and what you can do to contribute to an economy that works for everyone.
But first, you may be wondering… what is a B Corp anyways? Can just any brand say they’re a B Corp? The short answer is nope!
What is a B Corp?
A B Corp is a company that uses the power of the marketplace to help solve social and environmental problems. B Corps are certified to meet comprehensive standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency. Ultimately, certified B Corps are companies that put their workers, the communities they impact, and the planet first. And not just in words.
B Corp certification is real, it’s rigorous, and most importantly, you can trust it. Lots of companies make claims that their products are eco-friendly, but B Corp certification is there to help consumers distinguish between the companies that are actually doing the work to create sustainable products and the ones that are only using the language of sustainability for advertising advantage.
The rise of greenwashing is one reason why Jay Coen Gilbert, Bart Houlahan and Andrew Kassoy co-founded B Lab, the nonprofit that certifies B Corps. It does a 360 degree assessment of how a business operates and not only verifies, but provides a roadmap for continual improvement. As they like to point out, the B Corp stamp is the difference between slick marketing and a truly good company.
Prosperity Candle first became B Corp certified in 2014, but our studio has been operating with fair trade and B Corp principles from the beginning, even before we knew what a B Corp was.
Every 3 years we go through the certification process and it’s challenging – as it should be. B Lab scrutinizes everything we do: how we treat our artisans, where we source materials, how we package our candles, even the environmental impact of our equipment. This rigorous assessment makes being a certified B Corp mean so much more than just a rubber stamp of approval.
Here’s more on how we put our B Corp principles into action:
Putting people first
A key part of B Corp certification (and our mission) is valuing workers and the community. Since our founding over 10 years ago, we’ve been committed to prioritizing our artisans at every step so they can support themselves and their loved ones. For many of the women who step through our studio doors and begin their artisan training, this is their first job outside of a refugee camp. For others, it is an opportunity for employment at a living wage and to grow their artisan skills.
Every candle poured, labeled and packed is a symbol of a brighter future for a woman artisan after resettling to the U.S. Over the years, we've celebrated as many of our artisans have gone to school, earned U.S. citizenship, and become first-time home owners. We're grateful to be one of many certified B Corps that are making a difference in artisans' lives.
Choosing ingredients mindfully
Being aware of where ingredients are sourced and their environmental impact is also a key part of what B Corp means. We use natural soy and coconut wax, 100% pure cotton and sustainably harvested wood wicks, and never any dyes or artificial enhancers. All of our waxes and fragrances are sourced within the U.S. Everything that goes into a candle ends up in your home, so we choose ingredients that are good for your health and the planet. Our premium fragrances are phthalate-free and infused with essential oils. Plus, whenever we can, we source locally.
Caring for the environment
All our candle ingredients are chosen to be eco-friendly, but what about the rest of our business practices? You’ll be happy to know that we consider the environmental impact of everything we do.
In line with the environmental recommendations for certified B Corps, our equipment is energy-saving and turned off when not in use. Anything that can be recycled when our studio no longer needs it gets recycled, or is given to other businesses for repurposing. And most of our packaging is 100% recyclable, including the kraft paper used to protect candles during shipping which is made from recycled content. (Though our recyclable cylinder gift boxes are so nice you might want to keep them for home, office, and re-gifting ideas!)
We take the same approach with our candles, designing many in distinctive vessels that can be repurposed when the wax is gone, like our Marbella Collection and Liberte Pot Candles... as a flower pot, for jewelry and cosmetics, or any other creative use!
Some of Our Favorite B Corps:
If B Corp principles resonate with you, a great way to show your support is by purchasing from brands that are certified B Corps. We’ve listed some of our favorites below to help you get started.
1. Soapbox Soaps
Soapbox Soaps offers shea butter infused hair and personal care products that give back. For every product sold, Soapbox Soaps donates soap bars and contributes to health and hygiene initiatives in communities, both domestically and abroad. We love that - and use their products ourselves!
2. United by Blue
United by Blue makes sustainable clothing and tools for a plastic-free life. For every product purchased, United by Blue removes one pound of trash from oceans and waterways. So far, they’ve removed more than 3.5 million pounds of trash from our oceans!
3. Alter Eco
We love Alter Eco's indulgent chocolate truffles! Not just because they pair so well with our candles in sweet gift sets, but because the company is committed to sustainable and ethical production. They source ingredients from farmer-owned coops and their packaging is compostable. So you can feel good about each chocolatey delicious bite!
4. NEEV Lifestyle
NEEV Lifestyle partners with Indian artisan-owned cooperatives to create traditionally made, hand dyed and hand woven contemporary home furnishings. Dress up your next family gathering with their elegant table linens.
5. Grove Collaborative
The eco-friendly cleaning company Grove Collaborative is dedicated to simplifying your process of going green. Choose from a wide selection of brands vetted for sustainability and ethical production and get them delivered right to your doorstep.
Allbirds is a very cool shoe company that’s committed to making high quality footwear in an ethical way. Their wool runners are made with ZQ-certified merino wool, which means it meets strict standards of sustainable farming and animal welfare. Plus their website is gorgeous...
7. Day Owl
Made from innovative recycled-plastic fabrics, Day Owl's chic backpacks and pouches support quality jobs in the poorest parts of Haiti, Honduras, and Taiwan. And they’re now offering masks and lanyards whose profits benefit youth mental health programs.
Bombas is a comfort focused sock and apparel brand with a mission to help those in need. Their socks are seriously comfy! And, even better, they donate a pair to someone affected by homelessness for each pair sold. So far, they’ve donated more than 40 million pairs of socks.
9. All Good Products
A woman-owned and founded skincare company, All Good Products makes organic and GMO-free products for everybody. They’re most well known for All Good Goop, an all-purpose hand salve infused with olive oil and farm-grown calendula, and a range of reef friendly sunscreens.
10. Klean Kanteen
A family and employee-owned company, Klean Kanteen is best known for creating the original reusable stainless steel water bottle. Now that reusable products are the norm, they’re upping their game with a wide selection of plastic-free food safe containers made to last a lifetime.
We hope that you feel like you can now confidently answer the question: “What is a B Corp?” If you’re curious what other brands are certified B Corps, it’s easy to find out with B Lab’s Find a B Corp. And if we missed your favorite B Corp, let us know by giving them a big shout-out in the comments below!
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