Silk Soymilk is owned by Dean Foods, America’s largest dairy company? (And that today, most of Silk’s products are no longer organic?) Horizon Organic Milk? Also part of Dean Foods.
Cascadian Farms and Muir Glen? Owned by General Mills.
Tom’s of Maine toothpaste? You’re buying from Colgate-Palmolive. (See the graphic below even larger here.)
The Body Shop? L’Oreal.
Your Boca Burgers? Kraft.
What’s the difference, you ask? Well, putting aside for now the concerns that some have about a very limited number of companies controlling the vast majority of the economy, there’s the fact that something may be lost when you move from being a small company with a focus on a few quality products to being part of a behemoth.
In economic terms, it’s a move from a “triple bottom line” to a “single bottom line.” And, unlike all of those organic cookies, this is a case where more bottom is better. Specifically, the triple bottom line considers- people, the planet and profit. The Single? Profit. Period.
Now, there’s a whole lot to say about this laser-like focus on profit – and we’ll get to that in another post. For now, I want to share the good news that not all triple bottom line companies are going the way of the dodo. Nosir – instead, they are getting certified as B corps! And the B is not a B as in “if you’d studied harder you could have gotten an A” – the B is for BENEFIT. A benefit to whom? Their employees – their consumers – the planet – society as a whole, to name a few.
As Tina Rosenberg of the New York Times reported: ”To become a certified B Corp, or benefit corporation, a business must pass an examination of how it treats its employees, the environment and the community. A non-profit organization called B Lab sets out the requirements and certifies businesses that meet the standard. The idea is that while any company can claim to be a good corporate citizen, a B Corp can prove it — something valuable for consumers and investors.”
I encourage you to read more about B Corps on the official site here, and check out the growing list of B Corps here (up to 476 at the time of this posting – many of whom have neat gifts for the holidays – hint hint).
For even more info, read here and here.