Since the first of what are known as Benefit Corporations were certified in 2007, that new way of looking at business has gained a foothold in American capitalism, one that places equal value on the good a business can do for a community as well as for its owners. A noble philosophy, but one that has had a hard time gaining traction in the Kansas City region, with just two companies in that space: strategic communications firm Global Prairie, and Travois, which promotes housing development on Native American lands.
Now those two ground-breaking firms have some company: Barkley, one of the region’s prominent ad and digital marketing firms, has joined the ranks of the B Corp. set. Certified companies with that designation must meet higher standards of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability, and to earn that status, they are assessed with more than 200 questions regarding governance, employees, community, environment and customers.
“The assessment for becoming a B Corp pushed us to think hard at how we define success as a balance of purpose and profit with our own impact on the people we interact with, the communities we serve and our planet,” the agency said in announcing its change in organizational status.
Roughly 3,500 U.S. companies, the majority of them small businesses, have earned B Corp certification, whch is administered by Standards Analysts at the non-profit B Lab.