B Corporations are built to focus on people and planet along with profits (and also prosperity, a fourth “P” that does not get enough attention). When you meet the rather rigorous certification standards for joining this growing tribe of value-based businesses, B’s have an opportunity tell the world their story. There is no better way than through your website, which should be the hub of any marketing strategy. As B Corps, our websites should seek to leverage our practices and aspirations in a way that enlightens and engages (and maybe even bridges) our current and future stakeholders.
We spent hours reviewing hundreds of B Corp websites and found a number of sister companies that are demonstrating their commitments to positive social and environmental change online in unusual ways. The survey we conducted uncovered many companies and organization that are doing a great job — and we identified five different approaches that various B Corps are using to showcase their messages, strategy, and content.
#1 – Engage the Next Generation
Bullfrog Power is a Canadian-based green energy provider that supplies power from a blend of wind and low-impact hydro, with 50% of its energy being sourced directly from a company’s or home’s region. (In fact, Bullfrog Power is one of our energy providers.) One of the main items on the site’s navigation takes you to a mini-site called Power for Student Life that allows college and university students to put green energy back into the power grid. Although renewable energy credits (or RECs) are a short-term solution to climate change challenges, the focus on students and how they can impact the future of the world through green energy and conservation is admirable and smart.
#2 – Graphically Demonstrate Charity Impacts
Better World Books clearly articulates their purpose (“You Buy, We Donate – Book for Book”) when you first enter their website. Their mission is to make a global impact on literacy. In fact, they use a map of the world so customers can see where their donations are making a difference. The homepage of the site also features a top banner calculator that updates the number of books donated, as well as the funds raised for literacy programs and libraries. Better World has raised over $20 million for literacy and libraries worldwide.
#3 – Solicit Stakeholder Input
The Hub is a Philadelphia-based organization that provides purpose-built meeting space and related business services. As corporations have downsize, this company has filled the need for meeting and lecture space in three green energy-powered buildings. The Hub is one of the first B Corporations, and their business mission touches on several key B Corp metrics. When asked about the company’s culture, one of founders said it was built around kindness to one another and to its clients. And to make sure they are living up to expectations, they have a featured tab for a customer survey. Their website acts as an instant resource for feedback, helping them exceed expectations. Happy employees, happy customers, and a kindly growing business.
#4 – Be a Responsible Seller
New Belgium Brewing may have a fun product to manufacture, but this craft beer company takes its responsibility very seriously—in a good way. Like most brewing company’s websites, to enter, you must provide your birthdate. If you’re not 21 quite yet, you can’t get in. The site, however, provides the visitor with this message of hope: “Take Solace… It is inevitable that someday you will be 21 years old, so that is the good news. The bad news is that due to state liquor laws and our belief in alcohol responsibility, we are not allowed to let minors view the content of our pages.” Not a bad way to say “See you when you’re 21.” We like how New Belgium took the time to craft a message that reflects their authentic voice and their commitment to being a different kind of craft beer.
#5 – Amplify What Matters to your Business
We saved one of the tastiest B Corporations for last, Ben and Jerry’s. Besides making the best banana ice cream (Chunky Monkey) on the planet, the company remains steadfast in its commitment to making the world a better place as well. And this is so, despite being owned by a multinational player called Unilever. We are impressed by their numerous CSR initiatives and their forthright commitment to sustainability and social justice on their blog. One post post is entitled Low-Income Americans Hit Hardest by Climate Change. Another is about a U.S. bill on GMO labeling. Ben and Jerry’s exemplifies what corporate social responsibility should look like, and they do it week after week.
At Manoverboard, we take pride in our B Corp status and work hard each day to provide clients with websites that engage and inspire their stakeholders. In upcoming articles, we will highlight other B Corp websites that are doing just that. Please stay tuned.
If you have a website you would like us to review, please let us know. We’re easy to find.