Being a Portland B Corp: An Introduction

You may have noticed (or not) that Ergo Depot is a certified B Corp, and then promptly wondered what the heck a B Corp is, and what’s so great about that anyways? Well, it's a certification that proves qualified businesses find value in and are dedicated to mindful and responsible practices. Working for Ergo Depot as a B Corp rather than just another company trying to make ends meet is really exciting to me.  A company with a mission to truly improve people's lives can really make all the difference in a work environment.  To me it’s so much more than just a certificate, it’s a philosophy and a way of life.  With our B Corp status, not only do we get to show off a cool logo, but we also get to be a player in a greater conversation and that is worth a lot.

So how do businesses like Patagonia, Ben & Jerrys, and Etsy get to show off that logo? Essentially, these for-profit companies have gone through a rigorous certification process that is overseen by the nonprofit, B Lab. This involves scoring the company in a number of different categories which they call the B Impact Assessment. Don’t confuse this certification with a Benefit Corporation which, though similar, is a slightly different animal. The areas of consideration for the B Corp assessment are related to environment, workers, customers, community, and governance. Depending on the company, some score higher in certain areas over others. 

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We feel pretty lucky to basically be at the epicenter of B Corpdom by being headquartered in Portland. The business scene in Portland is very conducive to the B Corps mentality and what it means to be one. Many businesses in the area are looking for ways to make the world and their local community a better place; becoming a B Corp is one great way to show the world you’re working to make a difference.

Currently, there are a whopping 54 certified B Corps located in Portland out of a total 1,644 worldwide! Portland is serious about changing the world. There are a number of large and small businesses headquartered in our area proudly proclaiming their B Corp status such as New Seasons, Hopworks Brewery, Neil Kelly Company, and Bridgetown Natural Foods.

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Becoming a B Corp is no easy task and the certification process is not taken lightly. It takes both time and money to become a certified B Corp. So if you see a company with the logo you pretty much know you can trust them and are dealing with a company who cares. Much like getting organic or fair trade certification, being a B Corp is a great way to show customers and other businesses that you mean business (in the best way possible)! 

Another neat trait of B Corps is the fact that certification is open to any business, in any country, that wants it. You can currently find B Corps in 32 different countries. Having a universal certification standard and knowing that others share the same ideas about business as a force for good not only feels great but is wonderful way to begin a more global conversation.

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And for me personally, after finding out about them I knew I only ever wanted to work for a B Corp, or a company with similar aspirations. Right away I could know that the company and I would share similar values and ideas about business and its role in society. That’s also one big reason coming to work for Ergo Depot was such an easy decision. When business works together with employees, customers, and the community to create positive change it is a wonderful thing. And here at Ergo Depot, where ergonomics is king, it feels good to know that they have our back! Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.

B Cool,
Matt S.