Becoming a Certified B Corporation™ comes with many benefits, most of them extending beyond the walls of the company and into the hands of employees, community members, and industry partners. The designation makes the meticulous and rigorous process to certification well worth the endeavor. In 2021, Brewer Science announced that it’s the first company in the semiconductor industry to become a Certified B Corporation.
Our journey to become a Certified B Corporation inspired us to share our top five reasons for meeting the high standards the designation sets for both environmental and social responsibility.
1. Pave a pathway for continuous improvement
B Lab™, the certifying organization for B Corps, believes in continuous improvement, and B Corps must create an improvement plan to demonstrate the areas of social and environmental performance they focus on in the coming years. Brewer Science will hold B Corp certification for three years before submitting to a renewal process. In order to be recertified, a company must score higher on recertification than on the previous certification.
The assessment evaluates all facets of the company, and it’s a learning process to help the company target and identify ways to improve business practices. Brewer Science has already identified improvement areas for the recertification. We’ve implemented several human resource initiatives that are not written into policy yet, such as flexible and expanded work options.
Additionally, we have expanded our use of a cloud-based learning platform to provide employees with more training options and performance conversations held quarterly instead of annually. Brewer Science scored many points for community involvement and charitable giving. However, we are still expanding community engagement by supporting or donating to a new local organization each month. Brewer Science became Certified Employee-Owned in 2020, but since it was the first year of the ESOP and shares were not yet dispersed, B Lab didn’t fully recognize the program.
2. Share the values of your stakeholders
In 2006, Brewer Science started externally reporting environmental, safety, and health performance every year through its annual Corporate Sustainability Report in order to be transparent with customers, suppliers, and employees. The impact of this report on all of our stakeholders motivated us to pursue other ways to promote sustainability and inclusion as a shared asset for our customers and suppliers. In 2016, Brewer Science became GreenCircle Certified Zero Waste to Landfill, an annual certification that we have achieved every year since then.
Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. The standard is highly respected standard, in part because of B Lab’s rigor with the questionnaire and certification process.
Not only does becoming a B Corp show your stakeholders that you care, and that you are walking the walk, but it also allows you to show how much your company cares through your B Corp Impact Area. Brewer Science pursued the impact area of environmentally innovative manufacturing, a category that required detailed evidence of how Brewer Science manages the manufacturing waste and minimizes its carbon footprint. The B Impact Area Scores reflect the five areas where the business excels.
3. Be competitive in an industry that demands sustainability and social responsibility
Sustainability is of growing importance in the semiconductor industry. A company can convey its commitment to sustainability by becoming a Certified B Corp. The B Impact Assessment requires benchmarking to other companies in the industry in areas of social concern, such as sustainability, inclusion, and diversity. While benchmarking was nearly impossible for Brewer Science since we rank high as an innovator in these areas, we were able to not only set the benchmark for ourselves, but other industry partners who pursue B Corp certification in the future through our collaboration with B Lab.
4. Connect with a community that cares
Becoming a Certified B Corporation instantly opens companies up to a network of other B Corps across the world. The more than 4,000 B Corps in 150 industries and 74 countries enables makes it easy to network in the areas such as environmental initiatives, attracting top talent, and even just using business as a force for good in the semiconductor industry.
Knowing that a business is actively trying to make a positive social change will help attract top talent looking to find meaning in their careers. B Corp certification validates a company’s employee-centric culture, which can help beef up employee retention. What’s more, an exclusive job posting board called B Work, sponsored in part by B Lab, helps connect job seekers with companies that share their values.
Employees are connected through an exclusive B Corporation community platform, B Hive, enabling them to collaborate and share ideas with other B Corp employees. There is also a section within the B Hive where other B Corps can share benefits with other B Corp member employees. With such a diverse range of companies that are Certified B Corps, shared benefits can include anything from discounted clothing to travel deals or even free consultations. Additionally, employees of B Corporations can collaborate on local recycling events and community engagement.
5. The bottom line
Companies don’t pursue the Certified B Corp designation to drive improvements to their bottom line. Yet by sharpening their focus on environmentally sustainable initiatives and diversity and inclusion, most companies could indirectly see significant return on investment. For example, having a pathway for continuous improvement, sharing the values of your stakeholders, being competitive in the industry, and connecting to clientele and employees that value social responsibility all enable your business to grow. In the long run, becoming certified as a B Corp can save a company money by giving companies access to community data that provides insights into cost-effective ways to be more sustainable. Plus, the certification process helps companies identify wasteful spending.
For more information about Certified B Corporations, and to get started on your company's application, visit the Certified B Corporation website.
This blog was first published on SEMI.org on August 30th, 2021.