Earth & Conservation

Hey Grad, Work at a B Corp and Make the World a Better Place

Benefit corporations are for-profit companies that are certified as being socially and environmentally responsible, maintaining high standards of accountability and transparency.

If you're a recent high school or college grad, this time of year is filled with excitement about the future. You're done with classes, homework and late-night study sessions, and you're "real life" is about to begin. But if you don't have a clear idea of what that life looks like, this time of year can also be quite daunting.

Career prospects for college students have started to shift in recent years, with more and more millennials craving job roles that offer the chance to make a difference in the world. Working at a non-profit can offer many of the world-changing qualities you might be looking for in a job, but the problem is that these positions typically come with a pretty small paycheck, and millennials typically have more student debt than every other generation before them.

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If making a decent salary while also changing the world sounds more like your cup of tea, one option you might want to consider is working for a benefit corporation. B corps are for-profit businesses that are certified as being socially and environmentally responsible and maintain high standards of accountability and transparency.

Some B corps that you've likely heard of include Patagonia, New Belgium Brewing Co., and Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream. Rose Marcario, CEO of Patagonia, talks about the importance of B corps on their website, "The B corp movement is one of the most important of our lifetime, built on the simple fact that business impacts and serves more than just shareholders -- it has an equal responsibility to the community and to the planet."

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On an individual level, B corps try to use the power of the market to fix the most pressing social and environmental problems facing our world today. More importantly, the mission of B corps is to set a standard for businesses. Which company can be the best at doing good? This competition is designed to create sustainable and widespread prosperity.

Delaware approved the first B corp in 2013. After signing the bill, the state's governor, Jack Markell, told a New York seminar that B corps are can benefit society -- and make money. "What an unbelievable opportunity this represents to harness the energy of entrepreneurs who are really focused on making money and who want to give back at the same time," he said.

Working for a B corp has benefits that go beyond doing good in the world and making money too. They have rigorous standards for how employees are treated, putting the health and well-being of individual employees at the top of company priorities, along with social and environmental responsibility. In fact, B corps are 43 percent more likely to pay more than 80 percent of all employees' health insurance premiums.

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In a video on the B corps website, Victoria Fiore, impact manager for Plum Organics, discusses why she decided to work for a B corp when she was first applying to jobs out of college. She explained that using the B corp network to find job opportunities was one of the most helpful resources she found during her job search. Comparing it to a resume that details where someone went to school and what their work experience is, she said "It's a first layer of filter to see somebody else has done the heavy-lifting for me to know that this company meets certain standards that are important to me and my values."

There is a wide range of positions at B corps too. From sales, to digital media, to design, to engineering and beyond, you're likely to find a position at one of these companies that fits your specific experience and interests.

If you have a strong desire to make a change in the world and want the company you work for to align with those values, consider applying to a B corp, where your hard work helps make change a reality.