which will coincide with the company’s 10-year anniversary. She admits she could have acquired it sooner, but the demands of her business increased over the summer and she put the process on hold. Refocused this fall, she is determined to receive her certification by the end of the year. However, it hasn’t been easy. For example, when she started, Hoskin knew where everything in her supply chain came from, but when B Lab asked for documented proof, she realized B Lab wasn’t just going to take her word for it. “There is a long assessment and answering questions,” she explains. “They ask you questions like ‘Where do you bank?’ They prefer you bank with a credit union rather than a giant corporate bank. They want to know how your policies reflect your commitment. It can’t just be lip service.” To become certified, the first thing a business must do is take the B Impact Assessment survey, which can be done online and take anywhere from one to three hours. Taking the assessment is free. Companies that score at least 80 out of 200 possible points in the 150-question survey are then scheduled for an assessment review. From there, businesses go through a phone interview and turn in supporting documentation for review. While many distilleries build sustainability into the business from the start, becoming a Certified B Corp can be daunting. It can also be expensive. Fees to become certified range from $500 to $50,000 and are determined by annual sales revenue. Fees are paid annually, so as a company’s sales grow, the fees grow, and certification has to be reviewed every two years. For distilleries wanting to become certified, Hoskin thinks it’s better to wait until the distillery is established. “Distilleries are so capital intensive to start with,” she notes, “and the B Corp requirements can cause people to take on more spending when they aren’t ready.” Located in Butte, HEADFRAME SPIRITS received its Certified B Corp status in January 2017. CEO Courtney McKee says she hopes Headframe will inspire other businesses to redefine their corporate practices. While the spirits the distillery makes are award-winning, McKee is most proud of what Headframe does for the Butte community. During its first two years in business, Headframe donated over $40,000 to local non-profits and has regular charity events in its tasting room. The distillery also partners with Montana Tech, a local engineering college, to provide educational opportunities to students. “I’m proud of the tradition of Headframe Spirits, the products we make and how we give back to the community. We hope to organize the company as New Belgium did and make it employee-owned rather than sell it to a conglomerate in the future.” Even if your distillery isn’t ready to take on the task, Rojewski says that simply taking the free B Impact Assessment can give non-certified business owners an idea of where the company is and provide a blueprint for what needs to be done as they grow. Says Rojewski, “Any company can use it to measure and manage their impact on the world.”
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Published on Dec 14, 2017