It’s pretty crazy to think that it’s taken 4 1/2 years of this blog for me to finally talk about what I do for my 9 to 5 job which is certify companies that are socially and environmentally responsible as Certified B Corps. I’ll tell you more about what that means in a second, but first, I think there are a few reasons that I’ve kept this secret for so long:
When I first started my blog in early 2013, I didn’t talk about my personal life at all. I had just started my first post-college job but had also applied for a Fulbright Fellowship in Mexico and had no idea what was going to happen. Not to mention, I was living at home with my parents- not much exciting to report there. Then I was accepted to Fulbright and I had to quit my job after only 5 months- so weird! But so exciting too. While in Mexico, I shared a little about my pace of life and the beauty that surrounded me. And I cooked a LOT of Mexican food. After 11 blissful months on Oaxaca, I returned home to Philadelphia and to my previous job. I was thrust into the stress of finding an apartment and I had left Daniel behind without a clear path of where our relationship was headed. I was feeling pretty lonely at the time and didn’t want to talk much about my life outside the blog.
For so long, it seemed unrelated to talk about my 9 to 5 job since it was so far from the food and recipes I was writing about here. I barely talked about my blog at work either. It was like I was living two different lives, each completely separate and almost secret from the other. But now, things are different. My blog is much more aligned with my day job and really reflects my passion for sustainability and social impact.
Picture above: traveling is a big part of my job and I was lucky enough to visit Barcelona, Spain last year.
No, this isn’t me on a daily basis, but sometimes a long day of meetings calls for rosé and Stonyfield yogurt (a B Corp!).
So, what do I do again?
Since graduating (with the exception of my 11-month stint in Mexico), I have worked at B Lab, the nonprofit that certifies B Corps. B Corps are businesses that meet high levels of social and environmental performance. You’re probably familiar with Certified Organic food or LEED certified buildings. Well, B Corp are similar but the difference is that we look at all aspects of a company- the governance structure, employee practices, community engagement, and environmental footprint, in addition to the product or service that a company sells.
B Lab was founded in 2007 under the premise that companies should compete to be “the best for the world” and should manage their impact metrics with the same rigor as their finances. We have some truly badass B Corps! Ever heard of Patagonia? Or Etsy? How about The Honest Company? What about Ben & Jerry’s ice cream? Ok, you get the point. And those are just a few of the consumer product companies. We have over 2,100 global businesses in over 60 industries, and many are service companies like Kickstarter or sustainability consulting firms.
I work on the certification team at B Lab, which means that I speak to companies all day, everyday, to learn about their practices and business model so that I can verify that they really do what they say. Basically, I’m checking to see if they “walk the talk”. Not only do I get to talk to companies around the world, but I also get to visit a number of them in person. In the past three and a half years, I’ve gone to places like Mexico City, Barcelona, San Francisco, Portland, Oregon, and more! This year, I’m headed to Madrid (in just two weeks) and Santiago, Chile in the fall. Pretty pumped about that! Send your recommendation my way!
Sorry for the blurry pic!
What have I learned?
Working at B Lab has taught me so much about how business can play a role in solving some of the world’s greatest social and environmental challenges. This is so different from the international development path I thought I would go down and I have a much better understanding of how businesses can do good in the world. At the same time, though, I see companies through an extremely critical eye and sometimes it would be nice to be blissfully unaware again. C’est la vie! Sustainability isn’t easy and it’s not a black and white issue. I have learned that very few companies are all good or all bad. Take a company like H&M, for example. While I don’t purchase their clothes anymore after learning about some of their unfavorable practices, H&M is a leader when it comes to circular fashion by repurposing old clothing that can be dropped off by consumers at any H&M store. Pretty cool!
Why do B Corps this have to do with the blog?
Now that you have a better idea of what I do during the day, it makes sense for me to share some of my favorite B Corps on the blog and on my social media channels. Many of the products I use myself are from B Corps and I want to share my favorites with you!
After all these years, it feels like I’m simultaneously taking a weight off my shoulder and pulling back the curtain. Hopefully you’re excited to learn more!
B Corp branded brownies by Greyston Bakery, a supplier of Ben & Jerry’s that employs underserved individuals and supports them through a workforce development program.
Tell me: have you heard of B Corps before? Do you have any questions about how companies get certified or anything else?
P.S. Sorry that so many of these pics are blurry. I had to dig pretty deep to find some of them 😉